In a comprehensive list like this, it was inevitable that some celebrated names were going to miss out by the tiniest of margins. A frustratingly common problem I encountered when compiling the list was insufficient evidence for to bring some players style of play and achievements truly into life – a region I particularly struggled with was East Africa. This is where we need your help: we want everything from video footage of these players to trusted accounts of those who saw them play to help us improve the quality of this list. We do intend to lengthen this list and revise it intermittently, so feel free to suggest names of others who missed out or those who should be removed (with reasoning and taking the criteria into account).
Those who narrowly missed out:
Emmanuel Adebayor – Inconsistency combined with a body of work not large enough to compete realistically with some of the names on the list.
Daniel Amokachi – Not quite hitting the heights he was expected to at Everton.
Emmanuel Amuneke – Massive impact but still a sniff of what-could-have-been after injury cut his career short.
Mohamed Ben Rehaiem (Hamadi Agrebi) – Not enough glory at club level came with his magnificence on the ball.
Ali Bencheikh – Algeria’s golden generation’s failure to register a major title slightly costing him.
Mustapha Dahleb – Injury-ravaged career and lack of trophies meant some less talented names eclipsed him in the list.
Essam El Hadary – Formidable winning record with Ah Ahly and Egypt but Egypt’s failure to qualify for a World Cup and his performances when they have met the ‘big’ national teams.
Emmanuel Kunde – Certainly one of the best liberos to ever come out of Africa, but impact wasn’t sufficient to put him into the Top 60.
Shabani Nonda – Understated player when we speak of the great African strikers of the 2000s, but despite a good goalscoring record it was not a good enough record to compete with the strikers on the list.
Jacques Songo’o – Misfortune of having to replace two great keepers in Joseph-Antoine Bell and Thomas N’kono meant he couldn’t make the international impact. Also inconsistency at club level despite winning the Zamora trophy in 1995/1996 at Deportivo.
Taribo West – Spectacular downward spiral after leaving Inter Milan.
Uche Ukechukwu – Glowing praise from Fenerbahce fans but didn’t win enough to eclipse the defenders on the list.
Insufficient EvidenceTaher Abouzaid Hassan Akesbi Paul Bonga Bonga Tshimenu Bwanga Papa Camara Ernest Ebongue Hassan El-Shazly Ali Fergani Ali Gargarin Muda Lawal Emile M’Bouh Francois M’Pele Paul Moukila Eugene N’Jo Lea Ahmed Oudjani Cherif Oudjani Mohammed Polo Boubacar Sarr Hassan Shehata Cherif Souleymane Bengally Sylla Jean-Pierre Tokoto Ibrahim Youssef
Honorable MentionsStephen Appiah Sadok Attouga Khaled Badra Teslim “Thunder” Balogun Tedj Bansaoula Mohamed Barakat Jules Bocande Papa Bouba Diop Mbark Boussoufa Christian Chukwu El Hadji Diouf Mustafa El Haddaoui Pascal Feindouno Mark Fish Flavio Ibrahim Hassan Victor Ikpeba Eugene Kabongo Bonaventure Kalou Idriss Kameni Andre Kana-Biyik Abdul-Kader Keita Raymond Kalla Doctor Khumalo Noureddine Kourichi Temime Lahzami Emile Mbouh Djamel Menad Roger Mendy Robert Mensah Abdelkrim Merry Tresor Mputu Peter Ndlovu Mamadou Niang Peter Odemwingie Samuel Opoku N’Ti Steven Pienaar Peter Rufai Adel Sellimi Ahmed Shoubair Ibrahim Sunday Taye Taiwo Joel Tiehi Marc Vivien-Foe Pierre Wome Didier Zokora