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Top 10 best African footballers of 2023: Ranked

Published at :January 5, 2024 at 2:53 PM
Modified at :January 13, 2024 at 11:28 AM
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Manav Chowdhury

African footballers play a key role in furthering the narrative of the beautiful game.

Whether in Europe, South America, or Asia, the nature of the global footballing ecosystem means that African footballers or players of African heritage play a key role in furthering the narrative of the beautiful game. Africa has consistently provided world-class football stars who have gone on to enjoy fruitful careers, and the conveyor built of talent shows no signs of slowing. 

Whether it’s goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders or forwards, the plethora of star performers from Africa continues to excite and dazzle fans from across the globe. Europe has been graced by some of the best African players in recent history, from George Weah, Samuel Eto’o to Didier Drogba, and the list goes on. The continent has continuously produced more talent, promising a bright future ahead. Here we look at the top ten best African footballers of 2023:

10. Riyad Mahrez (Al-Ahli & Algeria)

A quick, creative and technically gifted player, his main traits are his trickery, balance, turn of pace, flair and dribbling skills. Although he is capable of scoring goals, he is also an excellent assist provider, courtesy of his ability to create chances for his teammates. His contributions played a pivotal role in Pep Guardiola’s side achieving an incredible treble. He is now in Saudi Arabia, taking on a new challenge with Al Ahli.

9. Mohammed Kudus (West Ham and Ghana)

Mohammed Kudus West Ham United
Kudus has been on top form since joining West Ham in the summer of 2023

Mohammed Kudus is a player with unquestionable talent. He’s the full package, capable of operating as a false nine, a winger, or in a midfield role. It is very fascinating to watch Kudus whenever he receives the ball under pressure from the opposition. He assumes a bent, almost hunched-over stance giving him a lower centre of gravity and allowing him to ride challenges and absorb contact without losing his balance or possession of the ball. He is a key player for his club and country.

8. Andre-Frank Anguissa (Napoli and Cameroon)

Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia get all the glory for helping Napoli win their first Serie A title in 33 years. They deserve all of that, but the Cameroon star kept things ticking in midfield for Napoli. He is one of the club’s unsung heroes.  His primary strengths include ball carrying and intelligence in movement and possession.

He has shown a tendency to play aggressively out of possession, roaming to pressure and harass opposition players. The tactical maturity Anguissa shows in his decision-making and positioning is extremely impressive too.

7. Andre Onana (Man United and Cameroon)

Before joining Manchester United, Onana was arguably one of the best goalkeepers in world football. he was on fire as he helped Inter Milan reach the Champions League final. A goalkeeper with the ability on the ball and passing of a midfielder. He is not afraid to drag opposition players towards him before he makes the pass to a teammate who is in space. Even though he is not able to perform well at his clubs as of now, still he is capable of becoming a really good goalkeeper.

6. Sofyan Amrabat (Man United & Morocco)

Very few footballers did as much to bolster their reputation as Sofyan Amrabat did playing in the heat of Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The very heartbeat of the Moroccan team that shocked the world and reached the semi-final of the competition before crashing out to France, Amrabat is a modern midfielder who is adept at playing as a 6 or 8 depending on tactical necessity.

He is comfortable carrying the ball into space, but his talent is progressing the ball forward with passes. He has the willingness to put everything on the line for the badge. He will be a key player for Morocco in the AFCON.

5. Achraf Hakimi (PSG and Morocco)

When it comes to football, Achraf Hakimi is a player who’s done it all well, at least in the club football scene. With multiple championships under his belt, the only thing missing in his stellar career is leading his nation, Morocco, to victory at AFCON. At just 25 years old, he’s already accomplished so much, having played for Real Madrid, Inter Milan, and now Paris Saint-Germain. His leadership presence can help Morocco in the upcoming AFCON.

4. Victor Boniface (Bayer Leverkusen and Nigeria)

A hard-working, technically gifted striker who is capable of pirouetting past players, holding off opponents and buying himself time before launching an inch-perfect shot his deft skill, pace, aerial prowess and powerful running with the ball makes him a complete striker. He has the confidence and speed of thought to drop deep and combine with teammates in order to create golden opportunities in the final third. Currently, his performance in the Bundesliga is really good. In 16 matches he has scored 10 goals and provided 7 assists.

3. Serhou Guirassy (Stuttgart and Guinea)

Serhou Guirassy Stuttgart
Serhou Guirassy has scored 19 goals in 16 appearances in the 2023-24 season

The Guinea international shocked many fans in world football following a red-hot start in the Bundesliga with Stuttgart. The striker has scored 19 goals in 16 appearances this season, including 17 in the Bundesliga. He is having one of the greatest campaigns in the Bundesliga by an African player. A strength of Guirassy’s is to hold the ball up to link up with the midfield to progress the attack forward. If Guirassy can continue his outstanding start to the new season, his value will likely increase. As will his list of admirers across the continent.

2. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt)

The Egyptian King has been doing it for years now at the top level. The Egyptian King has finished the last two seasons with double figures in the Premier League, proving he’s one of the best in the business. He is a powerful runner, who uses his frightening pace and acceleration in a number of ways. He constantly looks for balls in behind if an opposition’s defence ever pushes up high enough to leave him space to run into. He has been consistent for the last few years and this season as well he is performing really well.

1. Victor Osimhen (Napoli and Nigeria)

Victor Osimhen was named the 2023 CAF African Player of the Year, and he is considered the best African player right now. Osimhen became the first African footballer to win the Serie A Golden Boot. His goals played a major role in Napoli’s Scudetto triumph and currently is regarded as one of the best strikers in the world. Osimhen is a right-footed centre-forward who brings a big presence to the opposition’s penalty area. He scores goals in a variety of different ways and is adept in the box with both feet and his head.

Osimhen has hit double figures for league goals for five consecutive seasons with Napoli, Lille and Charleroi, largely thanks to the timing of his movements as a lone centre-forward. He will play a key role in Nigeria’s performance at AFCON.

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