Edited by Adedeji Oluwafemi
The English Premier League (EPL) is widely considered one of the best football leagues in the world, and it has become a prominent destination for African footballers. Over the years, several African players have graced the EPL, and some of them have earned legendary status for their performances on the pitch.
The African continent has produced some of the world’s most talented footballers, and many of them have made their mark in the EPL. These players have not only contributed to the success of their respective teams but have also become icons of the game. Let’s take a closer look at the five greatest African footballers to ever play in the EPL.
What is English Premier League?
The English Premier League (EPL) is one of the most competitive and exciting football leagues in the world. It attracts players from all over the globe, including some of the best African footballers. In this article, we will take a closer look at the five greatest African footballers to ever play in the EPL, their impact on the league, and their achievements.
7 Greatest African Footballers to Ever Play in the EPL
Out of many African footballers that ever played in EPL, the 5 greatest are picked in this article
1. Didier Drogba
- Full name: Didier Yves Drogba Tebily
- Age: Born on march 11, 1978
- Nationality: Abijan, cote d’Ivoire
- Team: Chelsea
- Total career goals: 164
Didier Drogba is arguably the most prolific African footballer to ever play in the EPL. The Ivorian striker played for Chelsea from 2004 to 2012, and during this period, he won three Premier League titles, four FA Cup titles, and one Champions League trophy. Drogba was known for his physical strength, aerial prowess, and his ability to score important goals. He scored 104 goals in 254 appearances for Chelsea, and he was named the African Footballer of the Year twice during his stint in the EPL. In addition, he is the only African player to have scored in four different FA Cup finals.
2. Yaya Toure
- Full name: Gnegneri Yaya Toure
- Age: Born on May 13, 1983
- Nationality: Bouake, Ivory Coast
- Team: Manchester City
- Total career goals: 240
Yaya Toure is a former Ivorian international who played for Manchester City from 2010 to 2018. He was a key member of the Manchester City team that won three Premier League titles, two League Cups, and one FA Cup trophy. Toure was known for his technical abilities, his powerful shots from outside the box, and his ability to control the midfield. He scored 62 goals in 230 appearances for Manchester City, and he was named the African Footballer of the Year four times during his stint in the EPL.
3. Nwankwo Kanu
- Full name: Nwankwo Kanu
- Age: Born on August 1, 1976
- Nationality: Owerri, Nigeria
- Team: Arsenal
- Total career goals: 44
Nwankwo Kanu is a former Nigerian international who played for Arsenal from 1999 to 2004. He was a vital part of the Arsenal team that won two Premier League titles and two FA Cup trophies. Kanu was known for his technical abilities, his calmness in front of goals, and his ability to create scoring opportunities for his teammates. He scored 30 goals in 119 appearances for Arsenal, and he was named the African Footballer of the Year twice during his stint in the EPL.
4. Michael Essien
- Full name: Michael Essien Kojo
- Age: Born on December 3, 1982
- Nationality: Accra, Ghana
- Team: Chelsea
- Total career goals: 545
Michael Essien is a former Ghanaian international who played for Chelsea from 2005 to 2014. He was a key member of the Chelsea team that won two Premier League titles, four FA Cup trophies, and one Champions League trophy. Essien was known for his versatility, his powerful shots from midfield, and his ability to win the ball back for his team. He scored 25 goals in 168 appearances for Chelsea, and he was named the African Footballer of the Year twice during his stint in the EPL.
5. Jay-Jay Okocha
- Full name: Augustine Azuka Okocha
- Age: Born on August 14, 1973
- Nationality: Lagos, Nigeria
- Team: Bolton Wanderers
- Total career goals: 95
Jay Jay Okocha, also known as Austin Okocha, is a retired Nigerian international who played for Bolton Wanderers from 2002 to 2006. He was known for his technical skills, his dribbling ability, and his creativity on the field. Okocha was a fan favorite at Bolton, where he helped the team reach the League Cup final in 2004. He scored 18 goals in 124 appearances for Bolton, and he was also a three-time winner of the Nigerian Footballer of the Year award. Okocha is widely regarded as one of the greatest Nigerian footballers of all time.
6. Emmanuel Adebayor
- Full name: Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor
- Age: Born on February 26, 1984
- Nationality: Togo
- Teams: Crystal Palace
- Total career goals: 164
Emmanuel Adebayor is a retired Togolese international who had a successful career in the EPL. Adebayor played for five clubs in the league, including Arsenal, where he won the Golden Boot in the 2007-08 season, scoring 24 goals. He also played for Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace, and Sheffield United. Adebayor’s height, strength, and speed made him a handful for defenders, and he scored some crucial goals during his time in England. He scored a total of 97 goals in 242 EPL appearances.
Adebayor’s career was not without controversy, however. He was involved in several high-profile incidents, including a controversial goal celebration against Arsenal while playing for Manchester City, where he ran the length of the field to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans. Despite the controversies, Adebayor remains one of the most successful African footballers in the history of the EPL.
7. Riyad Mahrez
- Full name: Riyad Mahrez
- Age: Born on February 21, 1991
- Nationality: Algeria
- Teams: Leicester City, Manchester City
- Total career goals: 116
Riyad Mahrez is an Algerian international who has established himself as one of the best African players in the EPL in recent years. Mahrez played for Leicester City for four seasons, helping the club win a historic Premier League title in the 2015-16 season. His dribbling skills, creativity, and ability to score spectacular goals made him a fan favorite. Mahrez joined Manchester City in 2018 and has continued to impress, winning three Premier League titles and two League Cups with the club. Mahrez has scored 66 goals in 206 EPL appearances.
Mahrez’s success in the EPL has earned him numerous individual accolades, including the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award in the 2015-16 season. He was also named African Footballer of the Year in 2016, becoming the first Algerian to win the award. Mahrez’s skill and talent have made him a role model for young African footballers, and he continues to inspire a new generation of players from the continent.
In conclusion, the seven greatest African footballers to ever play in the EPL have made a significant impact on the league. Their unique set of skills and qualities have made them stand out from the rest and have helped them achieve remarkable success both individually and as part of their teams. They have not only contributed to the success of their respective teams but have also raised the profile of African football on the world stage. Their achievements have cemented their place in the history of the EPL, and their legacy will continue to inspire future generations of African footballers.