Salah, Mane, Drogba, Eto'o: The greatest African XI of all time


Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has taken the 2021/22 season by storm.

It’s never been a secret that the Egyptian is one of the best players in the world, but his astonishing start to the new campaign – scoring 15 goals in just 13 games – has made everyone sit up and take notice.

Marry that to his previous achievements of winning the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and the Premier League with two Golden Boots for good measure and Salah’s legacy really is undeniable.

Salah: African footballing royalty

As such, Salah is rightfully taking his place amongst legends like Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure as one of the greatest male footballers to have ever hailed from the continent of Africa.

Only time will tell whether the 29-year-old goes on to become Africa’s undisputed GOAT, but we’re inclined to think that he’s now a guaranteed starter in the continent’s greatest ever starting XI.

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But let’s not take that for granted, because it presents us with the perfect opportunity to celebrate some of the other world-class players who, like Salah, have done Africa proud with their brilliance.

As such, here at GIVEMESPORT, we have decided to try our hand at naming the greatest XI of male African footballers in the history of the beautiful game – and it really is the stuff of legend.

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Greatest African XI in history

While some African icons strut into the line-up without any questions asked, there is – of course – an element of opinion involved with certain position, so this is by no means an objective, definitive XI.

And with so, so much attacking talent having hailed from African nations over the years, you’ll have to forgive us for being a little loose with the line-up when it comes to actual tactics and balance.

So, without further ado, let’s move past the disclaimers and get into the reason we’re all here by checking out GIVEMESPORT’s selection for the greatest male African XI in football history below:

GK: Essam El-Hadary

Once named by Drogba as his best ever opponent, El-Hadary won every trophy under the sun with Al-Ahly and Egypt, becoming the oldest player in World Cup history when he appeared at 45 years old in 2018.


CB: Samuel Kuffour

A bona fide Bayern Munich legend, Kuffour might be most famous for his passionate dismay in the 1999 Champions League final, but lest we forget that he lifted ‘Big Ears’ two years later and bagged 12 domestic honours in Germany.

CB: Wael Gomaa

An ever-present in Egypt’s AFCON triumphs of 2006, 2008 and 2010, Gomaa is widely considered to be the greatest African centre-back in history and won the continent’s Champions League title six times with Al Ahly.


CB: Kolo Toure

While Toure might have never won an AFCON trophy, make no mistake that the Arsenal ‘Invincible’ – who bagged two Premier League titles – is one of the greatest players to come from Ivory Coast’s ‘Golden Generation’.

RM: Mohamed Salah

Do we need to justify Salah’s selection? Forget everything that we’ve said about his crazy records and silverware and just hop on YouTube, watch just how insanely talented he really is and bow down to his brilliance.


CM: Abedi Pele

A three-time Ligue 1 winner with a Champions League and AFCON trophy to boot, Pele is viewed by many as the continent’s greatest ever player and has a hat-trick of African Footballer of the Year awards to show for it.

CM: Yaya Toure

Winning the African Footballer of the Year award four times on the bounce is just the start for a player who captained Ivory Coast to AFCON glory, lifted three Premier League titles and won the Champions League with Barcelona.


LM: Sadio Mane

With over 100 Premier League goals, including a Golden Boot win and a fourth-place finish in the Ballon d’Or, Mane’s status as one of Africa’s greatest ever players goes far beyond his trophy haul with Liverpool.

FW: George Weah

The only African player in history to win the Ballon d’Or, Weah was named as the continent’s finest ever player of the 20th century and won major honours across spells with Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Chelsea.


FW: Samuel Eto’o

Where to begin? Eto’o was named African Footballer of the Year four times, finished third in the FIFA World Player of the Year, won back-to-back European trebles and scooped two AFCON titles, as well as Olympic gold, with Cameroon.

ST: Didier Drogba

Like, duh. An all-time African great who played at three World Cups and scored 65 goals for the Ivory Coast, Drogba almost single-handedly won the Champions League for Chelsea in 2012 and boasts over 100 Premier League strikes.


How would your XI look?

What a team. We really do have Africa to thank for some of the greatest footballers in history.

Besides, the competition was so tough that legendary stars like Michael Essien, Roger Milla, Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and John Obi Mikel were forced to settle for a place on the bench.

However, like we said, our line-up is just a matter of opinion, which is no more or less legitimate than your own, so be sure to let us know what your greatest African XI would be on our social channels.



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