Sadio Mane, Abedi Pele, Dedier Drogba among winners of the African Footballer of the Year award [Updated List 1970 – 2022]

See the complete list of African Footballer of the Year Award winners from 1970 to 2019, including Kanu Nwankwo, Didier Drogba, and Samuel Eto’o.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has presented Africa’s Footballer of the Year award to the finest African footballer each year since 1992.

France Football magazine presented an older African Footballer of the Year Golden Ball award between 1970 and 1994.

Tie News brings to you a list of all the men who have been named Africa’s finest player since 1970, beginning with those who have won numerous accolades.

N’Kono, Thomas (Cameroon – 1979, 1982)

Thomas N’kono

N’Kono is the only goalie to have received Africa’s Footballer of the Year award and is regarded as one of the finest African goalkeepers of all time.

After his performance with Canon Yaounde earned him an African Footballer of the Year award in 1979, N’Kono moved to Spain to play for Espanyol. He hardly ever missed a game while with the Catalans that season and, with his solid performances in the 1992 FIFA World Cup, N’Kono was awarded another player of the year honour in 1982.


Following a fabulous season in the French Ligue that saw Lens qualify for the UEFA Champions League and, Senegal stun heavyweights at the World Cup to reach the quarterfinals of the competition, Diouf was crowned Africa’s best footballer of the year, 2001

He was named African Footballer of the Year for the second time in 2002 after an outstanding debut season with Liverpool in the Premier League. She also helped Senegal finish second at the 2002 AFCON, which was hosted by Mali.

Nwankwo Kanu(Nigeria – 1996, 1999)

Nwankwo Kanu was a member of Nigeria’s golden age and is regarded as one of the finest Nigerian players of all time. His efforts in 1996 with both the national team and Inter Milan earned him the title of African Player of the Year.

Kanu was voted Africa’s Footballer of the Year three years later after once again blowing up the football world, this time with Arsenal, including scoring a hat-trick in only fifteen minutes against Chelsea in October 1999 to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 triumph.

Salah Mohamed (Egypt – 2017, 2018)

Salah achieved some of the biggest individual successes ever recorded by an African after moving to Liverpool. In his debut season, he became the Premier League’s all-time leading goalscorer in a 38-game season and helped Liverpool reach their first UEFA Champions League final in 11 years.

As a result of his performances in England and Europe, which continued into the 2018 season, the Egyptian was named African Footballer of the Year in both 2017 and 2018.

Roger Mila (Cameroon – 1976, 1990)

Roger Mila

Milla was one of the first African players to achieve international prominence, appearing in three World Cups for Cameroon. Milla made his most notable mark during the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

Milla was voted African Footballer of the Year in 1976, before to his award-winning 1990 football season, for his efforts in the African Cup Winners’ Cup (now CAF Confederations Cup).

Didier Drogba

Drogba had unforgettable seasons with Chelsea, dominating the African football scene between 2003 and 2013.

After helping Chelsea win the Premier League, finishing as the league’s top scorer, winning the FA Cup, the League Cup, and captaining Cote d’Ivoire to their second Africa Cup of Nations final, Drogba was named as the 2006 African Player of the Year. He also helped them qualify for their first-ever FIFA World Cup,

In 2009, he was crowned for the second time after repeating his exploits on both the club and national levels.

Pele Abedi (Ghana – 1991, 1992, 1993)

Abedi Pele

Abedi Pele played for a number of European clubs but rose to prominence in the French Ligue 1 with Lille and Marseille. He won the UEFA Champions League, among other things, at the latter in 1993.

After spearheading perhaps Europe’s strongest league side of the early 1990s, including heading to a European Cup final defeat, Pele won his first African Player of the Year Award in 1991

He received two more Footballer of the Year awards in 1992 and 1993, for his dazzling performances on the club scene and at the 1992 AFCON.

George Weah

After signing with Arsene Wenger at Monaco in 1988, Weah rose to become one of the best players in not just Africa, but also in the World. He was awarded the African Footballer of the Year, for the first time in 1989.

He won the award again five years later while playing for PSG – after helping them to the French league title in 1994.

Weah had an even more productive 1995 season with PSG and his new club AC Milan. He won the French Cup and the Champions League, and he also helped AC Milan win the Italian league in 1996.

He is the only African to have won the Ballon d’Or, which he received in 1995, as well as a third African Player of the Year title.

Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire – 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)

Yaya Toure

Toure was named African Footballer of the Year a record four times in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

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His dominance with Manchester City saw him help the club to multiple titles in this timeframe. He also played a big role in Ivory Coast’s run to the final of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations where they lost to Zambia.

Toure crowned his career with a victory at the 2015 AFCON tournament, Ivory Coast’s first-ever AFCON triumph.

Samuel Eto’o

Eto’o had his name on everyone’s lips between 2003 and 2006, and then again in 2010: particularly for his performances with Mallorca, Barcelona and Inter Milan

In his five seasons at Camp Nou, Eto’o scored 130 goals for Barcelona, helping them to the La Liga title in 2005, and 2009. He also won the UEFA Champions League in 2009 (with Barcelona), and then 2010 (with Inter Milan)

He won the Italian double in 2010, and the FIFA Club World Cup. His undeniable brilliance helped Eto’o pick up his fourth African Footballer of the Year award in 2010.

Salif Keita (Mali) – 1970

Ibrahim Sunday (Ghana) – 1971

Cherif Souleymane (Guinea) – 1972

Bwanga Tshimne (Zaire/DR Congo) – 1973

Paul Moukila (Congo Republic) – 1974

Ahmed Faras (Morocco) – 1975

Tarak Dhiab (Tunisia) – 1977

Karim AbdulRazak (Ghana) – 1978

Jean Manga-Onguene (Cameroon) – 1980

Lakhdar Belloumi (Algeria) – 1981

Mahmoud El Khatib (Egypt) – 1983

Theophile Abega (Cameroon) – 1984

Mohamed Timoumi (Morocco) – 1985

Ezzaki Badou (Morocco) – 1986

Rabah Madjer (Algeria) – 1987

Kalusha Bwalya (Zambia) – 1988

Emmanuel Amunike (Nigeria) – 1994

Victor Ikpeba (Nigeria) – 1997

Mustapha Hadji (Morocco) – 1998

Patrick M’Boma (Cameroon) – 2000

Frederic Kanoute (Mali) – 2007

Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo) – 2008

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon) – 2015

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) – 2016

Mohammed Salah(Egypt)- 2017, 2018

Sadio Mane (Senegal) – 2019, 2022

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