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AFCON- Africa Cup of Nations

Top six players who never won AFCON trophy

Published at :January 12, 2024 at 12:33 AM
Modified at :January 13, 2024 at 11:40 AM
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Manav Chowdhury


Some big names that failed to lift AFCON

The 2023 African Cup of Nations is just around the corner as Africa’s biggest stars battle to win the biggest event on their continent for their respective countries. Great players from the African continent have contributed immensely to the game of football both locally and internationally. However, unfortunately, some of these Great African players never had the honour of Lifting the coveted African Nations Cup despite their great exploits abroad.

Some African greats have laboured in vain and failed to win the event for their countries despite multiple appearances. Here we look at the top six best players to never lift the AFCON trophy:

6. Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

Mohamed Salah AFCON
Mo Salah will look to lift AFCON 2023

He is a quick, mobile, hard-working and tactical player, with good technique and an eye for goal, Salah is predominantly known for his speed, movement, clinical finishing, agility, dribbling skills, first touch, and ball control, as well as his ability to use both his pace and flair on the ball to beat opponents and create scoring opportunities for himself or his teammates. Unfortunately, the Egyptian king was not able to help his team win the trophy in 2021 when Egypt lost to Senegal in the final of AFCON. Till now he is in search of the trophy and he will give it all in the upcoming tournament.

5. Michael Essien (Ghana)

Essien was a physically strong midfielder, who often played in a central midfield role. Essien also possessed good technique, vision, tactical intelligence, and leadership qualities. The Chelsea legend is one of Ghana’s best exports but was never able to capture the ultimate silverware. He helped the Black Stars win a bronze medal on home soil in 2008 and lost the final to Egypt in 2010. He also never won the African best award.

4. George Weah (Liberia)

The only African to be awarded the Ballon d’Or in the history of soccer, “Mister Georges” has only played in two African Cup of Nations tournaments in his career. In 1996, Liberia finished 3rd in the group phase behind Gabon and Zaire. It was the same story in 2002. The former president of the Republic of Liberia scored just one goal in his AFCON career and never won.

3. Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria)

An elegant Nigerian striker, Nwankwo Kanu is a great legend of African soccer and of the Super Eagles. European champion with Ajax Amsterdam, the 1.97-meter tall player conquered the world by winning the 1996 Olympic gold medal with Nigeria, as well as the African Golden Ball award in the same year. His only opportunity to touch the trophy came in 2000, in the final against Cameroon one of the best Nigerian teams in the competition. However, the Nigerian team lost out to the Indomitable Lions in a penalty shoot-out.

2. Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo)

The 2008 African Best Player, Emmanuel Adebayor, never lifted the gold trophy. He played in four AFCONs but never won it, reaching the quarter-final in 2013. He was also known for his pace, strength, and technique, as well as his goalscoring and ability to link up with his teammates. Adebayor helped Togo to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

1. Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast)

The Chelsea legend won a hatful of honours at Stamford Bridge, and also reached three World Cups with the Ivory Coast, including their first qualification in 2006. However, despite being AFCON’s top scorer in 2012, he never got his hands on the biggest prize, at the end of the game, the Zambians won the final and prevented Didier Drogba from realizing his greatest dream with the national team. Ivory Coast won their first AFCON after his retirement.

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