Truly we’ve witnessed a huge number of outstanding players in Africa, that have produced some really mouth-watering sensations. There are lots of African strikers who have graced the game but only a few can be tagged the finest or the greatest.
Former Barcelona and Cameroon‘s striker, Samuel Eto’o Fils some days back called it time on his illustrious career which spanned over twenty years and various clubs scoring around 300 goals in just over 500 appearances
The Indomitable Lions all-time goalscorer made his national team debut at the age of 15 and during the span of his career, he finished winner of the African Cup of Nations twice, first in 2000 and two years later. In fact, he is the all-time highest goalscorer in the African Cup of Nations with 18goals.
He also won Africa player of the year, four times a feat no other African player has been able to repeat so far, his club career has even been more glamorous and trophy-laden, playing for a plethora of clubs which included Barcelona, Inter Milan, where he won his second successive treble just a season after leaving Barcelona.
With this number of achievements and many others, it wasn’t out of place when many started seeing him as Africa’s best football player of all time even according to some, better than George Weah who is still the only African football to be named the best player in the world.
However, as expected this is still being debated across the board on different bases and bias possible, for some it is about his style of play compared to others, while to some the comparison is linked to solely finding who should be referred as Africa’s best striker between he and Ivorian, Didier Drogba.
In this write-up, we try to identify the few frontmen from Africa who can be mentioned in the same line with the Cameroonian who came third in the 2005 FIFA best player award. Here’s a quick look at the 6 of best African strikers of all time:
Certainly needs no introduction as the now 25th president of Liberia, was then a big superstar on the footballing scene, playing with some of Europe’s finest football club including PSG, Chelsea, Monaco, Marseille, and AC Milan amongst others.
In over 400 total club appearances he scored about 200 goals in his club career which he started at Bong Range Rovers, he also played at some African clubs including Tonnerre Yaounde in Cameroon where incidentally, Roger Milla had one of his finest stints too.
In 1995, he made waves after becoming the first African to win the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or, and since then the only African player to win these awards.
He also won the African Footballer of the year In 1989, he then followed with two more awards in 1994 and 1995, the latter which seemed the magic year for the Liberian winning UEFA Champions League Top Scorer: 1994–95, BBC African Footballer of the Year: 1995, Ballon d’Or: 1995, FIFA World Player of the Year: 1995 following it with the FIFA Fair Play Award in 1996, and silver award at the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1996.
Unfortunately, Liberia status as a football minnow deprived Weah of a chance to feature at the FIFA World Cup but he did enough to lead them to two Africa cup of Nations appearance in 1998 and 1992. Weah will surely go down memory lane as one of the finest African strikers to grace the beautiful game.
Eto’s fellow national, Roger Milla may have attained international stardom and recognition with his feat as the then oldest player to have played at the FIFA world cup in Italia 1990 after been persuaded by the country’s then-president to come out of retirement and represent the Indomitable Lions at the age of 38.
He heeded the call and as well featured and scored at the 1994 FIFA World cup at the age of 42 becoming the oldest goalscorer at the World Cup. His unique celebration at the 1990 World Cup may be what many remember Milla for but those who saw him play and his statistics speak volumes that he is more than just a late bloomer.
Milla scored 43 goals in 77 games for the Indomitable Lions, an average of 1 goal in every two games, a stat that Eto struggled to meet albeit slightly. In club football, Roger Milla plied his trade majorly in Cameroon and France with As Monaco, Valenciennes, Saint- Etienne amongst many others.
His awards include Cameroon Première Division: 1972 in and 1973, African Cup Winners’ Cup in 1975, Coupe de France in 1979-80 with Monaco and another Coupe de France triumph with Bastia in 1980–1981 and two Africa cup of Nations title in 1984 & 1988.
Individually, he was deemed African Footballer of the Year in 1976 and 1990, Africa Cup of Nations Best Player in 1986, African cup of Nations Top Scorer in 1986 and 1988, FIFA World Cup Bronze Boot in 1990 and FIFA World Cup All-Star Team in the same year.
Although, Eto may have been able to dwarf his achievements on the national and club scenes Old Roger Milla was certainly Gold.
Ivorian striker and Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba reigned during the same time with Samuel Eto, but his consistency and achievement at Chelsea rivaled the Cameroonian striker.
It is difficult to think of a legendary striker at the London club than the man who arrived in 2004 from Marseille and etched his name into the English Premier League history and indeed Chelsea’s, warming his way into the heart of the blue fans.
In 220 appearances, Drogba scored over 100 goals leading a new chapter in the club’s history, winning 4 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 3 league cup, and the Uefa Champions League. He also won the League and League cup in Turkey with Galatasaray.
Despite being Ivory coast’s record goalscorer, Drogba could not win the AFCON with the Elephants, although he finished twice as runners up in 2012 and 2005, he also led the team to their first-ever FIFA World Cup appearance in 2006. He won two African players of the year awards and also was nominated for the 2009 FIFA best player award.
Father to current Black star captain, Andre Ayew and his sibling Jordan Ayew, Abedi Pele was a force for Ghana during his career, in fact up till the Marseille legend is still considered Ghana’s best player ever.
Furthermore, he was the first African player to be nominated for the FIFA best player award in 1992 and 1993, even before George Weah became the first African recipient.
Pele led Marseille to their first and only Uefa Champions League trophy and also had successful stints with Lyon and Lille, making over 450 appearances and scoring over 150 goals.
Talking about best African strikers, his records were surpassed by Asamoah Gyan as Ghana’s highest goalscorer, Pele is still a big part of Ghana’s footballing history with 73 appearances and 33 goals. He also has the highest number of African cup of Nations appearances with 8 tournament involvements and won 3 African players of the year award.
Just like Drogba, Kanu had an illustrious club career winning the EPL with Arsenal twice and also was part of the invincibles in 2003 and also won the Fa Cup there times, twice with the gunners and once with Portsmouth, he won the Champions League with Ajax in 1995 and the Dutch Eredivisie.
With Nigeria, he failed to win the AFCON, but he won the 1993 African cup of Nations, 1996 Olympics Gold medal where he played a big part and also featured at the world cup severally.
He won 2 African players of the year awards and is considered one of the best African strikers despite suffering a heart problem at Inter.
We can’t finish this without giving honorary mentions to a few other African strikers who have make great exploits both on African soil and abroad: Emmanuel Adebayor, El Hadj Diouf, Tony Yeboah, Benni McCarthy, Emmanuel Amunike, Hossam Hassan, Rasheed Yekini, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Mahmoud El-Khatib and lastly Patrick Mboma.
Finally, the argument as who out of the six players talked about in this write up, is the best will always be argued, the argument does not look like one which will end anytime soon as the likes of Salah, Sadio Mane, and Aubameyang are making new exploits and breaking new grounds, but on the bright side, it’s a good statement to show that African football is not a dry land for talents. Years to come lots of African strikers will grace the headline of different European club sides.
However, if you have your prefered list, please don’t hesitate to drop them in the comment box.
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
READ ALSO: Mosengo-Omba Is CAF New General Secretary
The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
READ ALSO: Super Eagles: 9 Players Who Netted On Debut
Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.