The most prestigious tournament of the continent has seen some prolific goalscorers since its inception.
It was 1957 when the Africa Cup of Nations was first held. Ever since then, the competition has witnessed some fine goalscorers, who have helped their country with impressive numbers. Some of these names include those who have left their mark in some of the world’s best leagues. Undoubtedly, they also dominated African football and etched their name in the tournament’s record books, as the highest scorers in the Africa Cup of Nations.
With the 33rd edition of the tournament ready to kick-off on January 9 in Cameroon, Khel Now is here to refresh your memory about the top 10 all-time highest scorers at the Africa Cup of Nations:
10. Kalusha Bwalya (Zambia) – 10
Simply known as just “Kalusha,” the Zambian forward is perhaps his country’s most decorated footballer. He shares the 10-goal tally with many African greats, but his story is truly heartbreaking and inspiring.
A devastating plane crash in 1993 had resulted in the deaths of most Zambian internationals. The same flight was missed by Bwalya due to club football duties. In the following year, the striker captained his side through an emotional tournament and led them to the 1994 AFCON finals.
In the 1996 edition of the cup, Kalusha emerged as the tournament’s top scorer with five goals, which earned him a FIFA World Player of the Year nomination as well.
9. Ndaye Mulamba (DR Congo) – 10
The late Mulamba is a part of history in his own right. He holds the title of being one of the highest scorers at the Africa Cup of Nations with the most goals in a single edition, a record that still stands today. The prolific striker netted nine times in just six games at the 1974 AFCON held in Egypt.
His memorable tournament included a brace against hosts Egypt in the semi-finals, which led DR Congo (known as Zaire then) to the final. Mulamba’s inspired form was a huge part behind the country’s title-winning performance that year.
8. Mengistu Worku (Ethiopia) – 10
The striker’s name was as common in an Ethiopian household as Injera, a staple in the country. Mengistu Worku is often called the country’s best footballing product.
He was the joint top scorer at the 1962 edition with three goals, the year which saw Ethiopia come out as champions. Worku is also his country’s highest goalscorer in the tournament, with 10 goals over the six editions he’s played in.
7. Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast) – 11
His most lucrative tournaments were the 2006 and 2012 ones where he scored thrice in both. Incidentally, both times the forward had to settle with a runners-up medal.
6. Hossam Hassan (Egypt) – 11
The Egyptian is one of the few players who have tasted continental success in three different decades. He was on the winning teams which went all the way in 1986, 1998 and 2006.
Hassan’s best form came at the 1998 tournament, where he was joint-top scorer with South Africa’s Benni McCarthy for scoring seven times.
The forward’s goals included a hat-trick versus Zambia and a vital brace in the semi-finals against hosts Burkina Faso.
5. Patrick Mboma (Cameroon) – 11
Coming at fifth position is Cameroon’s Patrick Mboma. Apart from being a part of the squad that was triumphant at the 2000 Olympics, he was also joint-top scorer at the 2002 and 2004 Africa Cup of Nations. Moreover, Mboma has winner’s medals in his cabinet from the 2000 and 2002 editions of AFCON.
4. Hassan El-Shazly (Egypt) – 12
With an impressive 12-goal tally in the competition, El-Shazly is one of Egypt’s most decorated players of all-time. His high point in international games was his six goals at the 1963 AFCON tournament.
3. Rashidi Yekini (Nigeria) – 13
Perhaps Nigeria’s greatest forward ever, Yekini is known for his class acts during the 1992 and 1994 AFCONs. He came on top of the goalscoring charts at both editions and helped his team secure the title in 1994.
2. Laurent Pokou (Ivory Coast) – 14
Another Ivorian on the list, Laurent Pokou was a serial goalscorer in his time. Despite the lack of silverware, his abilities in front of goal were more than enough.
Similar to Yekini, Pokou was declared the winner of the Golden Boot at the 1968 and 1970 editions. He netted a combined 14 times in just eight appearances across both years. This included the match against Ethiopia, where the marksman scored five times.
1. Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon) – 18
The former Barcelona and Chelsea forward bettered Pokou’s record back in 2008 when he became the highest scorer in Africa Cup of Nations history. Not only did he win the competition in 2000 and 2002, but he was also the recipient of the Golden Boot in 2006 (joint) and 2008.