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Top 10 African Midfielders Since 2016



In recent years, the game of football in Africa has seen some of Africa’s best midfielders aging and leaving the game.

Yaya Toure was regarded as Africa’s best midfielder in the last decade has since left Manchester City for China while John Obi Mikel who was a youth prodigy in 2005 has declined in quality and called it time on his National team career.

The days of the likes of Micheal Essien is long gone and underlines the fact that these players cannot play forever, while we celebrate their achievements and quality another group of midfielders in the African game have stepped up and in this write-up, CheapGoals take a look at some of them.

10. Geoffrey Kondogbia
Club: Valencia
Country: Central Africa Republic

Kondogbia was born to Central African Republic Parents in France and moved to RC Lens youth team. The defensive midfielder went on to feature for Inter and then AS Monaco in Ligue 1 making over 40 appearances before moving to Valencia in Spain where he currently plying his trade.

On the International scene Kondogbia made 5 appearances in friendly matches for France between 2013 and 2015 but switched allegiance to the Central African Republic in 2018 only missing out on the 2019 AFCON in Egypt as the captain of the national team.


9. Frank Kessie
Club: AC Milan
Country: Ivory Coast

Ivory coast may be blessed with a lot of gifted players but Kessie is an exceptional talent who may step up and become the replacement and heir to Yaya Toure whose time in the national team football is numbered if not over.

Kessie was a member of the CAF U17 AfCON that beat Nigeria in 2013 in the final. He went on to play in the FIFA u17 and u20 World Cup. The Milan Midfielder has played 30 times for the National side and is still one for the future


8. Victor Wanyama
Club: Tottenham
Country: Kenya

Wanyama may not be as consistent as he used to be but he was sought after he posted consistent quality performances for Celtic in the Scottish league and the Uefa Champion league in the 2012 season where he scored in a group stage match against Barca.

He since then moved from Southampton and then Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League, of recently he is one of Kenya’s top players having played fifty-six times for the Kenyan national team and also featured at the last AFCON in Egypt


7. Keita Balde
Club: Inter Milan
Country: Senegal

Twenty-four-year-old Keita Balde featured for Senegal at the 2019 African Cup of Nations held in Egypt where they finished second behind Algeria.

The winger plays for Inter Milan in the Seria A where he is on loan from As Monaco, showing impressive performances in recent times. Despite being eligible for Spain by birth, he chose to play for Senegal where his father hails from.


6. Alex Iwobi
Club: Everton
Country: Nigeria

Alex Iwobi rose to prominence at Arsenal three years back and immediately was invited to the Nigerian national team squad where he was instrumental to the team’s qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup scoring the qualification goal against Zambia in Uyo in 2017.

He featured at the World Cup and the 2019 African Cup of Nations where he won a Bronze medal. His shock move to Everton from Arsenal, where he played in the Europa League final against Chelsea, made him the most expensive Nigerian player at Forty Million pounds.

READ ALSO: Top Ten Football Dribblers Of All Time


5. Ismael Bannecar
Club: AC Milan
Country: Algeria

One of Algeria’s french-born legion who successfully switched allegiance to the North African country, Bannecar was born in France and once featured for the Europeans youth teams.

The former Arsenal Youngster showed potentials in London but moved to Empoli in Italy where he showed enough promise to convince AC Milan to sign him.

He switched allegiance to Algeria in 2016 and two years later in Egypt, featured at the AFCON winning the competition and as well been voted the player of the tournament. At just 22 the future looks bright.


4. Idrissa Gueye
Club: Paris Saint Germain
Country: Senegal

Another defensive midfielder who has featured for decent sides from Lille between 2010-2015 where he appeared 134 times scoring 5 times the next move was to Aston Villa where he only played for 35 games.

The Senegalese was ever-present as the Terenga Lions finished second behind Algeria at the 2019 Africa Cup cup of Nations in Egypt.


3. Thomas Partey
Club: Athletico Madrid
Country: Ghana

The Ghanaian who moved to Athletico Madrid in 2015 after various loan spells at Almeria and Mallorca, has played over 90 games since then.

The 26-year old defensive midfielder also knows how to score goals having found the back of the net 10 times in 97 games for Athletico Madrid while for the black stars he has 8 goals in about 30 games.

He won the Europa League in 2018 and the Super Cup the same year and capped it up with a CAF team of the year. Not a bad record for a defensive midfielder definitely.


2. Naby Keita
Club: Liverpool
Country: Guinea

Keita shone like a million stars while at Red Bull Salzburg in Austria scoring for fun in the Uefa Europa League and Austrian league.

The Guinea national team captain certainly attracted attention from the big guns in Europe and eventually moved to Liverpool where he has become a mainstay in Jurgen Klopp starting line-up.


1.Wilfred Ndidi
Club: Leicester City
Country: Nigeria

It’s a doubt if there is any African midfielder who has been more consistent than Wilfred Ndidi. The Nigerian defensive midfielder rose to prominence with Genk in Belgium and then moved to Leicester City some seasons back where he has been a mainstay in the starting XI for the Club.

He ranked high in interceptions in the last two seasons and has been compared to former Leicester City midfielder Ngolo Kante and he has the glue that keeps this brilliant Leicester side together.

For Nigeria, he played at the 2019 Africa cup of Nations where the Super Eagles finished third even though he posted indifferent performances in the west African side’s run to a third-place finish. At just 24, Ndidi has been linked to the Creme de La Creme clubs in Club football and it’s evident the best has not been seen from him.




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Daniel is a passionate lover of Nigerian football. Follows local football and the national teams religiously. Aside from writing, he also does Sports analysis on Radio. Write to me on or follow me on twitter@danycrusoe95

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