60 Greatest African Players: Criteria

This criteria was difficult to formulate for two reasons. Firstly, a major problem is the lack of records available for many African players, even if they were the crème de la crème of their era. Secondly, in a volatile continent which is rife with corruption and politics mixing with sport, especially football, there were restrictions in many countries on when players could move abroad, if they could at all. With that in mind, our criteria consists of the following:


This considers the mark a player has left on the competition(s) they played in, particularly international and continental competitions – where they’re usually pitting their wits against the world’s or the continent’s best at that point in time.


Essentially, the individual and team achievements that the player can boast. Individual honours include player of the year awards, number of appearances in competition’s star teams and any other honours specific to the individual. Team honours are simply achievements players have boasted under a team environment such as cups and league titles. The contribution of the players to the honours they won as part of a team is also taken into consideration.


The variation of their level of performance over the period of their career, those who were excellent for a sustained seasons/years for club and country are judged favourably than those who had a single excellent season, so-called ‘one-hit wonders’.


The technical ability of the players as well as how well they applied that ability. Each player is judged on how adept they were at playing the position(s) they played. This was, of course, harder for players from past eras but to counter that we have judged it based on video evidence we can find of the players, opinions of coaches, fellow players, experts and other sources.

That’s it. Finally, this list is in no way definitive. Certainly, with the lack of African football history written down it’s far from definitive, but we have done a lot of research on it and hope it is will be somewhat useful. Constructive feedback will be welcomed and hopefully some of that feedback can be used to compile revisions of the list.

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