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Footballers with Most African Footballer of the Year Awards Won

Wed 05 January 2022 | 8:30

Which African footballers have won the most number of African Footballer of the Year awards? And since when has the African award been given away? Do we have any active footballers on the list of footballers with most African Footballer of the Year awards won?

Before anything else, let us make it clear that in this post we are not to

CAF awards 2021

since it’s not been given away yet which means the African best player of the year in 2021 is not decided yet by CAF, though IFFHS announced Mohamed Salah as the African best player of the year in 2021.

As we said above, CAF awards 2021 has not been launched yet to see who is announced by CAF as the

African best player of the year in 2021

. Of course, some sources have already introduced the best African soccer players in 2021 from their own viewpoints and as you might have guessed Mohamed Salah and Riyad Mahrez are among them, however, the only footballer among the best African soccer players in 2021 who is also on the list of footballers with most African Footballer of the Year awards won is Mohamed Salah and not at the top of the list.

A List of Footballers with Most African Footballer of the Year Awards Won

In this post, we are going to see who have won the most number of African Footballer of the Year awards since the launch of it in 1970. It should also be mentioned here that from 1970 to 1994 the award was given away by the French magazine France Football, and it was only from 1992 that CAF authorized it with two years, namely 1992 and 1994, of overlapping where both the French magazine and CAF gave away the prize to their chosen footballers.

Samuel Eto'o (4 Awards)

Number one on the list of footballers with most African Footballer of the Year awards won, Samuel Eto'o is a 40-year-old retired African footballer who is also among the top African scorers of all time with the 426 goals he scored during his career - he’s actually the third African highest scorer of all time, but let’s see how many African Footballer of the Year awards he won and when.

Eto'o actually won his African Footballer of the Year awards in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010. As you see, three of these awards are consecutive. He also won one Young African Footballer of the Year award in 2000. And how many times did Eto'o finish on the second or third place in the contest for the African Footballer of the Year award? Well, he finished twice on the second place in 2006 and 2009 and twice on the third in 2000 and 2001. In general, he has earned a place eight times in the African contest either first, second, or third. It should also be mentioned here that Eto'o shares his first place on the list of footballers with most African Footballer of the Year awards won with Yaya Toure who has won the same number of African Footballer of the Year awards but has not finished as second or third in the African contest that many times as Eto'o has.

Yaya Toure (4 Awards)

As mentioned above, Yaya Toure shares the first place on the list of

footballers with most African Footballer of the Year awards won

with Samuel Eto'o. Both footballers won 4 African Footballer of the Year awards during their careers. For Yaya Toure, that was in the four consecutive years of 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Although Yaya Toure never won a Young African Footballer of the Year award like Eto'o, he became Ivory Coast Player of the Year in 2009 and was named BBC African Footballer of the Year in 2013 and 2015.

Toure did not do very well concerning the times he finished as second or third in the contest for the African Footballer of the Year award. He only finished second once in 2015 after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and with a narrow margin of 6 points; while Aubameyang earned 143 points Toure finished on the second place with 136 points. And unlike Eto'o who has a place on the list of African top scorer of all time, too,

Yaya Toure

did not score enough goals during his career to finish on this list, too - he only scored a total of 122 goals during his career.

George Weah (3 Awards)

Call him President George Weah! He finally became Liberia’s president 15 years after he hung up his boots in 2003, and he’s the only winner of the Ballon d’Or trophy on the list of footballers with most African Footballer of the Year awards won. Weah won his African Footballer of the Year awards in 1989, 1994, and 1995. 1995 was actually the year Weah bloomed: He not only won the African Footballer of the Year award but also the BBC African Footballer of the Year, RSSSF Player of the Year, El País King of European Soccer, and FIFA World Player of the Year awards plus an Onze d'Or trophy in the same year.

Weah also finished four times as the runner-up in the contest for the African Footballer of the Year award in 1991, 1992, 1994, and 1996. In 1994, he actually shared his second position with another top African footballer, namely Rashidi Yekini, who had earned as many points as him (44). And as already was mentioned in this post, between 1992 and 1994 there was an overlapping in giving away African Footballer of the Year awards where both the French magazine, France Football, and CAF gave away their prizes to their chosen African footballers. In 1994, the French magazine chose Weah as the winner of the African Footballer of the Year award while CAF gave the prize to the Nigerian footballer, Emmanuel Amunike, with 48 points. As you see, Weah became both first and second in the same year and by two different givers of the prize. Something like that also happened to Abedi Pele which we are going to let you know next.

Abedi Pele (3 Awards)

The 57-year-old Ghanaian footballer, Abedi Pele, also earned three African Footballer of the Year awards during his career which were consecutive - from 1991 to 1993. He actually earned all these three awards when he was a

Marseille

player, and in two of them, namely the 1991 and 1992 editions, it is George Weah that follows him next on the list. Abedi Pele never finished as second or third in any editions of African Footballer of the Year award which means, in general, he has earned a place - actually the first place - in the history of the African Footballer of the Year award.

As we mentioned above, Abedi Pele and George Weah are the two players on the list who finished first or second in the three years - from 1992 to 1994 - that the African Footballer of the Year award was given by two authorities, namely CAF and France Football magazine, if, of course, you can call it an authority. Abedi Pele was named the African Footballer of the Year in 1992 both by CAF and the French magazine, and if you consider all the African Footballer of the Year awards he has won including his double awards in 1992, then he has won 4 African Footballer of the Year awards, however, the two awards he won in 1992 is actually considered as one by most sources.

Didier Drogba (2 Awards)

The footballer on the list of

footballers with most African Footballer of the Year awards won

with the most number of times finishing as either first, second or third in the contest for the African Footballer of the Year award. Didier Drogba actually won the African Footballer of the Year award two times in 2006 and 2009, finished as second four times in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2012, and as third three times in 2007, 2010 and 2013 which altogether sums up to nine times where he finished either as first, second or third in the contest for the African award and, as mentioned above, this is the most number of times for a footballer on the list of footballers with most African Footballer of the Year awards won to finish as one of the top three African footballers.

Didier Drogba has also a place among the top African scorers of all time - actually 4th - with the 369 goals he scored during his career. He served Chelsea for 9 years during his career and with them managed to win 14 club trophies including four Premier League titles. Drogba has also a number of records to his name four of which are African-related records. They are most goals scored in the Premier League by an African player (104), Most assists in the Premier League by an African player (54), most appearances in Champions League by an African player (94), and oldest African goal scorer in the Champions League with scoring a goal in the European league when he was 36 years and 259 days old.

Roger Milla (2 Awards)

The top African scorer of all time with 479 goals, Roger Milla, actually occupies the 6th place on the list of footballers with most African Footballer of the Year awards won with 2 of such awards. He actually won his prizes in 1976 and 1990 while the award was still given away by the French magazine, France Football. Milla also finished twice as second and once as third in the contest for the African prize which was actually in 1975 and 1988 in the former and in 1986 in the latter case.

What is quite noticeable about Roger Milla’s African Footballer of the Year award is that he won the 1990 edition of the prize with a very wide margin compared to the second and third places. He actually earned 209 points while the second place, Tahar Cherif El-Ouazzani, and the third joint places, Rabah Madjer and Francois Omam-Biyik, earned 64 and 60 points, respectively. It should also be mentioned here that Roger Milla was named

Africa Cup of Nations

 Best Player once in 1986 and Best African Player of the past 50 years by CAF in 2007.

Thomas N'Kono (2 Awards)

The only goalkeeper on the list of footballers with most African Footballer of the Year awards won, Thomas N'Kono is a 65-year-old former Cameroonian goalkeeper who served seven clubs during his 23-year career with the Spanish club,

Espanyol

, being the one among them to be most served by him; actually for 8 years between 1982 and 1990. N'Kono won two African Footballer of the Year awards during his career in 1979 and 1982. He also finished second once in 1981 and another time third in 1978 in the contest for the African prize. He was also part of the Cameroonian national team who won the 1984 edition of Africa Cup of Nations. It might be interesting for you to know that N'Kono’s performances in 1990 World Cup was a source of inspiration for the 12-year-old Gianluigi Buffon who later became one of the top goalkeepers in the history of the Italian football. He also named his first son, Louis Thomas, after the Cameroonian goalkeeper.

Mohamed Salah (2 Awards)

One of the

best African soccer players in 2021

and the only active player on the list of footballers with most African Footballer of the Year awards won, the Egyptian Messi, Mohamed Salah, has won two African Footballer of the Year awards to this date and in two consecutive years of 2017 and 2018. Since Salah is still in the business, there is a probability that he can win more African Footballer of the Year awards and improve his position on the list. Just two more of such awards gets him at the top of the list. And he has finished as second once in 2019 in the contest for the African prize but never as third at least up to this date (January 2022).

The interesting fact about

Mohamed Salah

is that in the same years that he won the African Footballer of the Year award (2017 and 2018) he was also chosen by BBC as the African Footballer of the Year. In fact, he is considered as both an Arab and African footballer because of his country of origin, Egypt, and we should say that a few of the awards he has reaped are those he has won as an Arab player like the UAFA (Union of Arab Football Associations) Golden Boy award he won in 2012 or the Globe Soccer Best Arab Player of the Year he won in 2016.

Nwankwo Kanu (2 Awards)

Only two African Footballer of the Year awards, no second or third place; that is all Nwankwo Kanu could get his hand on considering the African prize and maybe that’s why he’s near the bottom of the list of footballers with most African Footballer of the Year awards won, however, that doesn’t mean Kanu was a lesser footballer during his career. On the contrary, he served the top European clubs, Ajax,

Inter Milan

and Arsenal, for a major part of his career. And other than the two African Footballer of the Year awards he won in 1996 and 1999 he also won two BBC African Footballer of the Year awards in 1997 and 1999. Kanu is a 45-year-old Nigerian footballer and retired since 2012 after a 20-year career which started in 1992.

El Hadji Diouf (2 Awards)

And finally the last African footballer with at least two African Footballer of the Year awards to his name, El Hadji Diouf is a 40-year-old retired Senegalese footballer who currently bottoms the list of

footballers with most African Footballer of the Year awards won

. Of course, the list may get longer in the future as there are footballers like

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

or Sadio Mane who are likely to win their second African Footballer of the Year award anytime soon and come on the list though at the end of it.

Ok, back to El Hadji Diouf, the 40-year-old Senegalese footballer won his two African Footballer of the Year awards in 2001 and 2002. He also won a BBC African Footballer of the Year in the latter year (2002), and to your surprise, he’s one of the footballers on the list alongside the top footballers like Roger Milla and George Weah who’s been named on the FIFA 100 list by the Brazilian legend, Pele.

A List of Footballers with Only One African Footballer of the Year Award Won

Below is a list of footballers who have won or won only one African Footballer of the Year award to this date actually from the 1994 on that the award has been given by CAF. Some of these players are still active and may come on the list of footballers with most African Footballer of the Year awards won with their second award which we will surely update you with. Please note that in the list below by year we mean the year in which a footballer won the African prize.

  • Emmanuel Amunike, Ntl: Nigerian, Year: 1994, Status: retired

  • Victor Ikpeba, Ntl: Nigerian, Year: 1997, Status: retired

  • Mustapha Hadji, Ntl: Moroccan, Year: 1998, Status: retired

  • Patrick M'Boma, Ntl: Cameroonian, Year: 2000, Status: retired

  • Frederic Kanoute, Ntl: Malian, Year: 2007, Status: retired

  • Emmanuel Adebayor, Ntl: Togolese, Year: 2008, Status: retired

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ntl: Gabonese, Year: 2015, Status: playing

  • Riyad Mahrez, Ntl: Algerian, Year: 2016, Status: playing

  • Sadio Mane, Ntl: Cameroonian, Year: 2019, Status: playing

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source: SportMob

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