One can argue that African players have the hardest route in order to make it to the top level in world football. That’s what makes their story interesting for football fans around the world and now, our list of top African football talents 2021 is coming your way.
Every country, and over a broader scale, even every continent has its stereotypes when it comes to football talents. The South-American players are known for their passionate style of football and of course, their spectacular individual skills with the ball. The European footballers are considered tactically flexible players due to their high level of academic football training centers. And then you have African football players who are known for their strong physics and impressive work rate on the pitch. They can also be lethal attackers and legends likeDidier Drogba
or Samuel Eto'o are proof of that.
Those stereotypes could be true in some cases but as you would guess, there are also many exceptions to those. In the following article, we are going to meet top African football talents who have risen admirably throughout the last couple of years or so. You may have heard of some of them, but they are also some exciting new names on our list that have a long road ahead of them as highly talented prospects.
With Africa Cup of Nations heading our way in a few weeks, it is just about the right time to have a look at the
top 10 best young African footballers 2021
who have the chance to flourish in the upcoming tournament. So, to put your curiosity at ease, here is our 10 names for top African football talents in 2021:
Pape Matar Sarr
Silas Katompa Mvumpa
With 18 years old, Felix Afena-Gyan is the youngest player on our
top African football talents list
. The Ghanaian Centre-Forward was playing at a youth football academy just until a few months back. When he was signed by Roma in 2021, Felix didn’t have any experience of playing in Ghanaian leagues nor youth international. From the very beginning, the teenager proved his worth by poaching goals one after another for Roma’s youth team. Scoring 15 goals and providing 3 assists in 27 youth matches were a promising start in European football for Felix Afena-Gyan.
Just a few months later, Afena-Gyan’s exceptional talent caught the eyes of Jose Mourinho and he gave him the chance to make his debut on senior-level football againstCagliari
in the October of 2021. Felix put on a delightful performance and was awarded with another playing opportunity against Genoa where he scored a late brace to win the match for his side and became the man of the match. He got called up by Ghana national team recently but Felix decided to turn down the invitation as he needed time to concentrate on his development in Roma. Nevertheless, Felix Afena-Gyan is one of the top African football talents and his going to have his breakthrough season sooner or later.
Pape Matar Sarr was born on September of 2002 in Thiaroye, Senegal. Just like Afena-Gyan, Pape Sarr also was transferred to European football after spending some time in a local football academy in Africa. In 2020FC Metz
signed him from the Generatioan Foot academy which is located in Senegal. After a short stint at Metz second team, he got promoted to the club’s first team in 2020 and made his debut against Brest in Ligue 1. Since then, he became a regular starter in the French side's line-up and made 31 appearances during the league camping at the age of 18.
Pape Sarr’s main position is defensive midfielder and he is truly qualified for leading his team’s midfield line at such a young age. With 1.85 height, Sarr is a capable player on aerial duels as well and he also has some decent long-range shooting skills which makes him a hidden weapon for scoring goals when the game is locked. Due to his brilliant performances on his first season at Ligue 1, in the summer of 2021 Tottenham paid $18.59m to buy him from Metz. Therefore, currently Pape Sarr is playing in Metz colors as a loanee. As one of the
best African footballers 2021
, we could except to see him playing in the Premier League in the coming years.
Many heardAmad Diallo
’s name for the first time just when Manchester United bought him from Atalanta back in the winter transfer window of 2021 with the transfer fee of $23.43m + nearly $17m bounces. But even before that, the Ivorian attacker was a well-known player as one of the top African football talents. Amad moved to Italy when he was a child and started playing football in local sides. The Boca Barco football club was where Amad Diallo made a name for himself as a teenager. At the age of 13, many Serie A clubs were after him and finally Atalanta signed the talented winger in 2015.
He had some successful years on Atalanta’s various age groups and his numbers were impressive for a player of his age. In the October of 2019, coach Gian Pierro Gasperini gave him his first taste of senior-level football in a Serie A match against Udinese, and Amad Diallo scored his first goal in that very match. Although he is not a regular starter at Manchester United at the moment, with 19 years old he has the perfect opportunity to hone his skills at an elite club and surely has an exciting future ahead of him.
Yet another Ivorian player who started his professional career at Italian football. Hamed Traore is a versatile player who can on play different positions on the pitch. He can play on both wings since he is good with his both feet which is a quite rare ability. But Traore’s main position is attacking midfielder and he had a key role in Sassuolo’s squad during the last three seasons. With only 21 years old age, Traore has 113 matches to his name in the Italian top flight and that explains why he is one of the
top 10 best African players 2021
There is also one other thing that Hamed Traore and Amad Diallo have in common: they both were playing in Boca Barco youth club before starting their professional careers. In 2015 Traore was signed by Empoli and two years later, he joined the first team’s squad at the age of 17.Empoli
got promoted to Serie A in 2018-19 season and Hamed Traore took part in 32 games for his side. At the end of the season, Empoli got relegated but Traore remained in Serie A as Sassuolo bought him for nearly $18m. Now the creative midfielder is enjoying his third season at the club and things are going smooth for him.
There is no doubt that Ajax Amsterdam is one of the best clubs in the world football when it comes to developing young talents. There were many African players that has risen from the Dutch side and one of the latest ones is Mohammed Kudus. He was born in Accra, Ghana in 2000 and twelve years later joined the Right to Dream football academy. In 2018 Kudus moved abroad and signed forNordsjælland
in Danish football to kick off his professional football career. As an attacking midfielder he scored 14 goals and provided 3 assists for Nordsjælland in 51 matches which convinced Ajax to pay $10m and land him in Netherlands.
He had a promising start at Ajax and managed to contribute in seven goals in 17 league matches on his debut season. Mohammed Kudus has everything that you might expect from an attacking midfielder: amazing passing and dribbling skills in addition to decent finishing and also doing his defending chores up in front of the pitch. Unfortunately, injuries put a halt to his progress for the time being and we have to wait a little bit to watch and enjoy one of the
top African football talents
on the pitch again.
He is the only defender on our top 10 best African players 2021 list. Edmond Tapsoba is a Burkinabé Centre-Back who started his career in 2014 withSalitas
club in Burkina Faso when he had 15 years old. Four years later he packed his bags and moved to Portugal to play for Leixões for a single season before joining Vitória de Guimarães. In the January of 2020, Bayer Leverkusen scouts recognized his talent and paid $20m to buy him from the Portuguese side.
Now the 22 years old defender has formed a strong partnership with Odilon Kossounou – who is one of the other top African football talents – in Leverkusen’s back line. Apart from the starting two months of the season that he was suffering a ligament injury, Tapsoba has been a key player in Leverkusen’s squad. Due to his superb ball playing skills he also has an important role in building up the attacks from the back. Edmond Tapsoba made his international debut for Burkina Faso back in 2016 against Uzbekistan and represented his country on 16 occasions since then.
As one of the best young African footballers 2021, 23 years old Musa Barrow has scored 5 goals and assisted 4 in 16 Serie A matches for Bologna so far. The Gambian international started playing football on the streets of his home country and went on to join the Hawks club in the Gambian youth league. In 2016 Atalanta approached him and that was the moment that Musa Barrow believed that he could make it to the top level in European football. Barrow was so good for playing at youth level as he had 26 goals and 10 assists to his name in only 23 matches for Atalanta.
Therefore, the club decided to promote him to the first team in the 2017-18 season when he was 19 years old. In order to gain more playing time, Musa Barrow joinedBologna
in the January of 2020 and since then he has been one of the most prolific wingers across the league. Musa Barrow is a pacey winger with lethal shooting skills and also, he has a brilliant vision to pick out his teammates and making key passes. 23 goals and 18 assists in 75 matches in a club like Bologna is something that not many are able to achieve.
At the age of 23, Patson Daka is one of the most decorated players amongst best African footballers 2021. When he had 9 years old, Daka joined Kafue Celtic youth academy in his hometown. He raised through the ranks at the Zambian club until in 2014 made his senior debut for Nchanga Rangers on Zambian top tier. In 2017 Patson Daka moved abroad and signed for Liefering in Austrian second tier. Shortly after that, Red Bull Salzburg bought the capable forward and gave him the chance to play in a competitive club alongside brilliant talents such asDominik Szoboszlai
and Erling Haaland.
Patson Daka had four amazing years at RB Salzburg as he won the UEFA Youth League trophy on his debut season in 2016-17 in addition to the Austrian Bundesliga gold medal in four consecutive seasons. He is also the first Zambian player ever to score in the UEFA Champions League as he opened his goalscoring account against Genk in 2019. Scoring 54 goals in 82 matches were enough for Leicester City to pay $33m and add the Zambian international to their squad. Zambia didn’t qualify for the African Cup of Nations and Patson Daka can benefit from it to concentrate on adapting himself to the high intensity of Premier League.
As one of the top African football talents, it might sound odd that Silas Katompa Mvumpa as known as Silas, doesn’t have any national career at the age of 23. The highly talented Centre-Forward was born in Kinshasa, DR Congo in 1998. He spent six years on the local club Olympic Matete FC and then joined Ales in French football when he was 17. He played for Ales andParis FC
in the following years until in 2019 Stuttgart bought him for nearly $10m. In his first season at the German side, Silas bagged 7 goals in addition to 8 assists to help his side in gaining a Bundesliga promotion.
2020-21 was his breakthrough season as he submitted 11 goals and 6 assists in 25 Bundesliga matches. Things were going awesome for the Congolese attacker but then a horrible cruciate ligament rupture forced him to sit out for more than six months. Although he lost most of the 2021 due to injury, he showed enough potential to consider him as one of the
top African football talents
right now. He is currently getting back to his form at Stuttgart and if he manages to do that, we could sit back and enjoy his exceptional talent on the pitch.
Perhaps he is the most famous player on our top 10 best African players 2021 shortlist. Victor James Osimhen made a name for himself back in 2015 Under-17 World Cup as he scored 10 goals in 7 matches and managed to win the tournament with Nigeria. In 2017 Osimhen joined Wolfsburg as a part of the club’s partnership with the Ultimate Strikers Academy which is a youth football academy located in Nigeria. A successful spell at Charleroi in Belgian league was followed by a move to Lille in 2019 for a transfer fee of nearly $25m. Osimhen’s form didn’t drop and after a successful season with 18 goals and 6 assists, Napoli paid $80m which was a record breaking-number to bring the prolific striker in Southern Italy.
Injuries didn’t let him to live up to expectations at Napoli but still he had 14 goal contribution in 24 Serie A matches last season. Nine goals and two assists were a decent start for the current season but once again, a cheekbone fracture injury put a halt at his progress. His situation for Africa Cup of Nations is currently in doubt but one thing is for certain and that is as one of the best African footballers 2021, Viktor Osimhen is on his way to become one of thegreatest African strikers of all time
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