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Top 10 Best African Footballers of All Time

Football was brought to Africa by British colonials in the mid-1800's and the continent's first documented match took place in 1862 in South Africa. Today, over 150 years later, it is the most popular sport in almost every African country. Despite this, Africa has not been a wellspring of world class players over this period, and African nations have tended not to perform very well at World Cups.

The quality of football throughout Africa seems to have improved dramatically in recent years, and that is reflected in this list, featuring a number of recent players. Pele predicted that by 2000 an African nation would have won a World Cup. Pele's prediction proved untrue, but in 1990 Cameroon became the first African nation to reach the World Cup Quarter-Finals; shocking the world and defeating the reigning champions Argentina as they topped their group. Since then the feat has been repeated twice; firstly by Senegal in 2002 and secondly by Ghana in 2010. All those teams came agonizingly close to a berth in the semi finals, all losing either in extra time or on penalties.

South Africa hosted the first World Cup on the continent in 2010 and it is hoped that the legacy of the tournament will continue the sharp progress of African football. Domestic soccer in Africa is still of a poor standard however, with the possible exception of the South African league, and around 80% of African national team players at the World Cup play their soccer in Europe. Many ply their trade in the top European leagues or even venture out to Asia. Neverthless, here are the top 10 African footballers of all time.

10 Nwankwo Kanu

via performgroup.com

9 Essam El-Hadary

via vimeo.com

8 Lakhdar Belloumi

via eurosport.com

7 Yaya Toure

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

6 Jay-Jay Okocha

via football365.com

5 Roger Milla

via taringa.net

4 Abedi Pele

via franksfotball.com

3 Samuel Eto'o

AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO

2 Didier Drogba

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

1 George Weah

via gentside.com

The case for George Weah as the greatest African player in history is compelling. He is the only African to ever win a Ballon d'Or, the only African to ever become European Footballer of the Year and finally, the only African to ever be named FIFA World Player of the Year. Weah won league titles in Liberia, France and Italy, as well as an FA Cup in England, in a career which saw him turn out for the likes of Monaco, PSG, AC Milan, Chelsea, Manchester City and Marseille. At international level, his achievements are limited by the quality of the Liberia team around him, he managed 13 goals in 30 caps. In 1996 he was named the African Player of the Century.

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Top 10 Best African Footballers of All Time