60 Greatest African Players: The Missing Men

Some may say Jean-Jacques Gosso has been a missing man all his life.

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 Evidence

Taher 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 Mentions

Stephen 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
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

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