logo

Best African Goalkeepers of all time

Monday26 October 2020 | 12:30
Share
https://www.sportmob.com/en/article/900519-best-african-goalkeepers-of-all-time
Copy Link

The African continent has introduced many world-class footballers to the world of football. Read on to find out more about the best African goalkeepers of all time.

Being a goalkeeper is not easy. When you perform well, everybody would say you've done your duty. And when you concede a goal, all the blame would be put on you .Moreover, there is only one place available in the squad, making it the hardest position for a player to get into the starting line-up.

To make it even tougher than that, imagine craving to be a well-known goalkeeper, and simultaneously having to grow up in a deprived village, where people do not possess even the primary rights of a human being , in some country in Africa.

Related Article: 

Top African Leagues

Here is a list of some of the best African goalkeepers of all time:

Although it seems hard to believe, many hard-working determined men have risen from these positions, indicating their fans from all over the world that their mindset could be wrong, eternizing their names as role-models for young talents.

Essam El Hadary

  • Full name:

    Essam El Hadary

  • Date of birth:

    15 January 1973 (age 47)

  • Place of birth:

    Kafr El Battikh, Damietta, Egypt

  • Height:

    1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)

  • Playing position(s):

    Goalkeeper

  • National team:

    1996–2018: Egypt, Appearances: 158

Essam El Hadary is not only a name to stay in the minds of the Egyptians, but also is regarded to be a legend for the entire continent and definitely a worthy name to be on the list of best African goalkeepers of all time.

Having to encounter a pile of setbacks, he has overcome many difficulties to help his club, Al Ahly, which hold the record of winning the most trophies throughout history among all the clubs from all around the world- secure so many titles. He has also achieved trophies with

Egyptian national team

.

As one of the best African goalkeepers evere, Hadary is the oldest player who have ever participated in FIFA world cup, playing at the age of 45 years and 161 days against

Saudi Arabia

in Russia in 2018.After breaking the record, he donated the shirt and the gloves which he wore in that match to the FIFA world football museum located in Zurich. "In all honesty, I never imagined I'd be a part of any museum.

“Back in Egypt, There is a lot of historical museums which feature artifacts dating back to thousands of years ago, but seeing myself in a museum is definitely something really special. Frankly, this museum in Zurich is quite different.

I never dreamed of being there, but hard work always pays off. My name remaining in that museum is something I am proud of," Said El Hadary.

As one of the greatest African goalkeepers in history of football, El Hadary is the only African goalkeeper who saved a penalty in FIFA world cup. He managed to do it in the very same match against Saudi Arabia.

Thomas N'Kono

  • Full name:

    Thomas N’Kono

  • Date of birth:

    20 July 1956 (age 64)

  • Place of birth:

    Dizangue, Cameroon

  • Height:

    1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)

  • Playing position(s):

    Goalkeeper

  • National team:

    1975–1994: Cameroon, Appearances: 63

Thomas N'Kono is the legendary goal keeper of Espanyol and

Cameroon national team

who has been an inspiration to many goal keepers, especially those African ones in Europe and

La Liga

, deserves to be on the list of all-time best African goal keepers.

Having played for almost a decade in the 80s for Espanyol, he is loved by the fans because of his amazing leadership and superb athleticism.

His name spread through people's ear first at Canon Yaounde, where he helped his teams secure five national titles and two African Champions league trophies.

His stunning reflexes and performance in the 1982 world cup in Spain, where he conceded only one goal in three matches will forever be one of the best individual performances shown by an African player.

After that, he joined Espanyol due to the astonishing saves he made in that tournament, he moved to Spain to play for Espanyol. He has played 241 times in La Liga games during 8 seasons.

Furthermore, his 112 Cameroon caps, alongside winning the 1984 African Nations cup. His performances for national team which led them to reach the 1990 FIFA world cup quarterfinals inspired the 12-year-old

Gianluigi Buffon

to decide to be a goalkeeper, and also naming his son Thomas after this idol.

A person to look up to for many goalkeepers in Africa, is one of everybody's choices when choosing the

best African goalkeepers of all time

and will remain one of the most iconic figures in La Liga history.

Exclusive SPORTMOB video

Joseph-Antoine Bell

  • Full name:

    Joseph-Antoine Bell

  • Date of birth:

    8 October 1954 (age 66)

  • Place of birth:

    Mouandé, Cameroon 

  • Height:

    1.82 m (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in)

  • Playing position(s):

    Goalkeeper

  • National team:

    1977–1994: Cameroon, Appearances: 52

Legendary Cameroon goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell is regarded as one of the best African goalkeepers of all time. He has had a bright two-decade lasting career both inside his homeland and abroad.

As one of the

greatest African goalkeepers in history of football

, Bell has achieved some top-level trophies with his clubs and Cameroon national team. He initiated his professional career with Eclaire of Doula.

After switching between some clubs and showing his abilities, he finally got an opportunity to move Union Sportive of Deido, a great club from his country.

Spending six wonderful year at the club, he helped them win the Cameroon league twice in 1976 and 1978, and most importantly the African cup of champions (which is known today as the CAF Champions League) in 1979.

Moreover, he and his teammates won both the domestic and the international cup. Then, he decided to join the club "Africa Sports of Abidjan" of Ivory Coast. He helped his team secure 6 titles before starting his journey in a club in Egypt.

The enigmatic goalkeeper claimed two African Cups as well as the Egyptian league with that club before moving to Europe where he played in 109 league games for the most remarkable club of his career, Olympique of Marseille.

After Spending some time in

Toulon

and Girondin of Bordeaux, he eventually moved to Saint-Ettiene and had played for three astonishing seasons there.

In terms of international career, despite the popular opinion that he was in the shadow of Thomas N'Kono, he has played in 52 caps for his country and has left great memories of his contributions on the pitch.

He was a crucial part of the invincible Lions' team in 1982, 1990 and 1994 FIFA world cups. He has been named as the "African goalkeeper of the century" by the International Federation of Football History (IFFHS), while his eternal rival Thomas N'Kono was given the second place, who justifiably are among the

top African goalkeepers in soccer history

.

Bruce Grobbelaar

  • Full name:

    Bruce David Grobbelaar

  • Date of birth:

    6 October 1957 (age 63)

  • Place of birth:

    Durban, South Africa

  • Height:

    6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)

  • Playing position(s):

    Goalkeeper

  • National team:

    1977: Rhodesia, Appearances: 1, 1980–1998: Zimbabwe, Appearances: 32, 2018: Matabeleland, Appearances: 1

Bruce David Grobbelaar, born 6 October 1957, is a Zimbabwean former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper, mainly for the

Premier League

team

Liverpool

between 1981 and 1994, and for the Zimbabwean national team.

Grobbelaar is another shot-stopping man who is definitely among the

best African goalkeepers ever

. He will be always remembered for his glittering career in Liverpool, where his penalty saves helped the club to win the 1984 European cup and was the inspiration of Jerzy Dudek of doing the same thing 21 years later.

His 626 appearances within 14 years for the reds, alongside winning six First Division titles, three FA cups and three league cups would place him in the list of one of the best goalkeepers of the club and he is undoubtedly one of the greatest African goalkeepers in the history of football.

After his debut in 1981, the South African-born custodian went on to play in 310 consecutive matches, which is a tremendous record. His great athleticism as well as his great confidence convinced his coaches, such as Fagan and Dalglish to let him keep hold of his first line-up place.

Jacques Songo'o

  • Full name:

    Jacques Celestin Songo'o

  • Date of birth:

    17 March 1964 (age 56)

  • Place of birth:

    Sackbayeme, Cameroon

  • Height:

    1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)

  • Playing position(s):

    Goalkeeper

  • National team:

    1984–2002: Cameroon, Appearances: 98

The Cameroonian prominent goalkeeper who has spent his career mainly in France and Spain is definitely one of the

best African goalkeepers of all time

. Appearing in more than 200 matches for Deportivo de La Coruna during 6 years and being a part of the best team in the history of the club which managed to win the LaLiga title in 2000 for the first time in the club's history makes him a symbol for the club.

He has also played in four world cups for Cameroon national team. Songo'o was voted as the best African goalkeeper in 1996 which gave him enough credit to join the "Galicians" and experience his golden years there.

He managed to win the 1996-7 Ricardo Zamora trophy (the best goalkeeper of the season in La Liga) with them. He has been included in the squad for his homeland national team in each and every world cup from 1990 to 2002.

However, he was in the first line-up only in 1998. Furthermore, he was a part of the team which took part in 1984 summer Olympics in LA. With all these being said, wouldn't it be unfair not to mention his name as one of the

all-time best African goalkeepers

?

Ezzaki Badou

  • Full name:

    Ezzaki Badou

  • Date of birth:

    2 April 1959 (age 61)

  • Place of birth:

    Sidi Kacem, Morocco

  • Height:

    1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)

  • Playing position(s):

    Goalkeeper

  • National team:

    1979–1992: Morocco, Appearances: 76 

Ezzaki Badou, born 2 April 1959 is a Moroccan retired footballer who played as a goalkeeper, and manager. Also known as "Zaki", Badou is indeed one of the best African goalkeepers of all time.

The Moroccan goalkeeper has played for several clubs during his professional career which lasted for 17 years such as

Wydad Casablanca

,

RCD Mallorca

and Fath Union sport.

Some of his achievements are being named as the "best African player of the year" in 1986 by France Football and winning the "Zamora" trophy in 1989. He played for Moroccan national team in 1986 FIFA World Cup and has taken part in four African Nations cup.

In addition, he was a part of the squad of his homeland national team in the 1984 Summer Olympics games.

Moreover, Badou’s name was included among the 200 best African football players of the last half-century in 2006 in a report released by the Confederation of African football.

Sadok Sassi

  • Full name:

    Sadok Sassi

  • Date of birth:

    15 November 1945 (age 74)

  • Place of birth:

    Tunis, Tunisia

  • Height:

    1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)

  • Playing position(s):

    Goalkeeper

  • National team:

    1963–1978: Tunisia, Appearances: 87

Sadok Sassi, born 15 November 1945 in Tunis, is a former Tunisian footballer. He was a goalkeeper and played for Club Africain and the Tunisian national team

.

He played both matches for the Tunisian national team at the 1963 African Cup of Nations.

Sadok, nicknamed Attouga" Sassi, is a former goalkeeper of Tunisian national team and the Club Africain. During sixteen years as a professional football player, he has achieved 5 league titles and eight cups. Four of which was for Tunisia and Maghreb.

In a 'mini' world cup tournament which was hosted by Brazil in 1972, he was chosen as the goalkeeper of the African team.  He was the indubitable first choice to stand in Tunisian national team goal for many years. He has appeared in 87 international matches.

He has also earned an award of the African Football's Silver Order of Merit by CAF (confederation of African football) and is known to be one of the best African goalkeepers of all time. 

Exclusive SPORTMOB video

Robert Kazadi Mwamba

  • Full name:

    Robert Kazadi Mwamba

  • Date of birth:

    March 6, 1947

  • Place of birth:

    Elisabethville, Belgian Congo

  • Date of death:

    1998

  • Height:

    175 cm (5 ft 9 in)

  • Playing position(s):

    Goalkeeper

  • National team:

    1968–1980: Zaire, Appearances: 40

Robert Kazadi Mwamba, March 6, 1947 – 1998, was a goalkeeper who played for TP Mazembe and Zaire.

He was named the Player of the Tournament when Congo won the 1968 African Cup of Nations and followed this up with another victory in the 1974 African Cup of Nations where he was named to the Team of the Tournament.

Kazadi was a goalkeeper from Congo who was chosen as the player of the tournament in 1968 when they managed to win the trophy of African Cup of Nations.

Years later in 1974 and in the very same tournament, he was selected as the goalkeeper of the best team of the tournament, which is convincing enough to enter the list of best African goalkeepers of all time.

He has also experienced playing in a FIFA World Cup in 1974. However, the experience wasn't sufficiently due to the fact that in one of the games he conceded 3 goal in the very first twenty minutes of the game and was substituted shortly after that.

In addition, he was voted as the goalkeeper of the century of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2000 by IFFHS.

<span style="font-family:times new roman,serif">

He was the cousin of fellow footballer Bwanga Tshimen.

Vincent Enyeama

  • Full name:

    Vincent Enyeama

  • Date of birth:

    29 August 1982 (age 38)

  • Place of birth:

    Aba, Abia State, Nigeria

  • Height:

    1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)

  • Playing position(s):

    Goalkeeper

  • National team:

    2002–2015: Nigeria, Appearances: 101

A legend from Nigeria, with one of the brightest careers of all the goalkeepers in the list. Not only can his name be put in the highest places of the list of top African goalkeepers in history if compared to them, but also he can compete with all of the most successful Africans players of all positions.

As one of the

greatest African goalkeepers of all time

, Enyeama has won many trophies both inside and outside of his country. Acquiring numerous titles with Hapoel Tel-Aviv and Meccabi Tel-Aviv and many stunning performances in Nigerian national team has made an idol out of him.

His career started to take off firstly in his when he made his debut at the 2002 FIFA world cup against England where he managed to keep a clean sheet and attract many attentions. That match seems to be a game-changer in his professional career which he took advantage and take his game to some higher levels.

He won two consecutive CAF Champions league titles in 2003 and 2004, which is still the only success of the West African nation in the mentioned tournament.

He was named the player of the year in Israel in 2008-9 season. It becomes more fascinating if we consider the fact that he was the last goalkeeper to have won this award.

Back in season 2013/14 when he was playing for LOSC Lille in league 1 of France, he went almost three months, equaling eleven games and nearly 1062 minutes without conceding a goal, a record which has stayed unbroken and doesn't seem to be broken easily in the near future.

Although

Paris Saint-Germain

's dominance over the league 1 over the last couple of years has prevented him from achieving titles in France, his unforgettable performances and brilliant reflexes left the experts no choice but to put him in the Stade Pierre Mauroy between 13/14 and 16/17.

Even though things haven't gone as he wished recently, and the 2013 Afcon winner might have to announce his official retirement, the world of football knows him as one of the best African goalkeepers of all time.

Nader El-Sayed

  • Full name:

    Nader El-Sayed

  • Date of birth:

    31 December 1972 (age 47)

  • Place of birth:

    Dakahlia, Egypt

  • Height:

    1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)

  • Playing position(s):

    Goalkeeper

  • National team:

    1992–2005: Egypt, Appearances: 110

One of the

greatest African goalkeepers of all time

who is originally from Egypt. After displaying his abilities for the prominent club

El Zamalek

, he moved to Belgium to play for

Club Brugge

in 1998.

However, he wasn't as successful there as he was expected to be. Hence, he took the decision of taking the leap and joining Akratitos in Greek Super league. In 2005, when he was a player of

Al Ahly

, they placed 5th in the FIFA Club World Championship where he got the chance to play in the last match.

El-Sayed was the captain of the Egyptian team in the 1992 Olympics games in Barcelona. Moreover, he went on to play for the national team until 2005.

Although it was when he lost his place in the squad because of his erratic participations in Al Ahly matches, he will always be one of the greatest African players of all time.

He was also the first Egyptian to have ever been chosen as the best goalkeeper in African Nations Cup since 1957. He has won the award in 1998 and 2000.

Carlos Kameni

  • Full name:

    Idriss Carlos Kameni

  • Date of birth:

    18 February 1984 (age 36)

  • Place of birth: 

    Douala, Cameroon

  • Height:

    1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)

  • Playing position(s):

    Goalkeeper

National team:

Cameroon,

<span style="font-family:times new roman,serif">

Appearances: 73

Carlos Kameni is a prominent keeper who has spent the majority of his career in Spain. He has played for Espanyol in 229 La Liga matches within 8 seasons. Kameni has also taken part in two World Cups and six African Nations cup.

An exclusive record of his to mention is that he is the youngest player ever to win an Olympics gold medal with Cameroon National team in 2000, which caused him to transfer to the French team

Le Havre AC

.

However he couldn't make it to get into the first team and failed to get any time on the field. In 2004, his move was completed to the Spanish club Espanyol where they found his talent and gave him the chance to be first choice in the line-up in his second year when he was 21.

In 2008-9 he managed to break the record of his fellow countryman, Thomas N'Kono's record when he seceded in keeping the ball away from the net for almost 497 minutes. Continuing his journey in Spain, he decided to join

Malaga

in 2012.

He became the first club goalkeeper to provide an assist there. Ending his memorable adventure in Spain, he took the decision to move to Turkey and play for

Fenerbahce

in 2017.

Internationally speaking, he was the starter in most of the tournaments which he appeared in, including the 2003 FIFA confederations cup where his country finished as runner-ups.

Undoubtedly, the early-starter Kameni is one of the

best African goalkeepers of all time

, given the fact that he has proven himself in several countries.

With regard to the fact that comparing these legends, the best Africans goalkeepers ever, is not an easy task to accomplish, the IFFHS  ranked some of them anyways, where Joseph-Antoine Bell was named the best African goal keeper of all time (mostly 20th century), beating his eternal rival Thomas N'Kono who placed in the second place.

Sadok Sassi was voted third whereas the Moroccan Badou Zaki was fourth, ahead of Robert Mwamba who placed fifth.

However, we know for sure that there is no accurate criteria to compare these iconic goalkeepers and every single one of them have brought glory to their people and smile on their fans’ faces. All of them are truly among the best African goalkeepers of all time.

Read more:


source: SportMob
Exclusive SPORTMOB video