It was tough but here’s my definitive list of the top African players in the Premier League of all time. And I stand by it. So read on to find out which Touré makes the cut.
Tony Yeboah was fond of the crossbar well before Sky’s Soccer AM challenges. The Ghanaian striker arrived in South Yorkshire in January 1995 and quickly gained a reputation for scoring stupendous goals in the mid 90s. He was also the first foreign footballer to win the club’s player of the year award.
Did you know? Yeboah cited the humble Yorkshire pudding as a key catalyst for his dazzling goal-scoring form during his stint t’North.
A defender who complimented his natural athleticism with patience, Radebe only moved to Leeds as part of a deal which brought fellow South African Philemon Masinga to the club in 1994. Following an unsettled start, ‘the Chief’ was eventually appointed captain in the ‘98/’99 season and helped the Yorkshire club on their memorable run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2001.
Did you know? The British ondie Band Kaiser Chiefs was named in homage to Radebe’s former South African club Kaizer Chiefs.
With the most recognisable goatee in football (sorry, Robert Pires), the Moroccan attacking midfielder made his start playing pit stop in the West Midlands at Coventry following an impressive display at World Cup ’98. He’s a cosmopolitan cult hero who scored in a famous 3-2 win over Arsenal on Boxing Day 1999 and many are still incredulous as to how the humble man ended up at Highfield Road to this day.
Did you know? Sky Blue fans wore traditional fezzes on match day as a tribute to him and fellow Moroccan midfielder Youssef Chippo during their time at Coventry.
Tall with a telepathic technique, the Nigerian striker’s humble enthusiasm along with trademark gun-finger celebration resonated with ‘Gooners’ from the off. His second-half hat-trick in a 3-2 away victory against London rivals Chelsea in the 99/00 season is the stuff of Arsenal folklore.
Did you know? Kanu recently opened up his modelling agency in Nigeria.
Well-known for his natural flair and penchant for set-pieces, the cultured Nigerian midfielder arrived in the north-west after the 2002 World Cup. He had an immediate impact saving Bolton from relegation and winning the inaugural BBC African Footballer of the Year in his debut season on English soil.
Did you know? His nephew Alex Iwobi currently plays for Arsenal.
The footballing equivalent of quinoa, Adebayor is a figure who divides opinion amongst those with a palette for players. With a colossal 24 Premier League goals for Arsenal in the 2007-2008 season, Adebayor reaffirmed Arsène Wenger’s faith in his previously raw and maligned talent. Subsequent spells in Manchester and Tottenham have failed to reignite the striking spark of the Togolese player.
Did you know? Adebayor is an avid Afrobeats aficionado whose penchant for the genre is often reflected in his goal celebrations.
The sixth of nine siblings, the Ivorian arrived at Highbury in 2002 as a versatile player but eventually became a centre-half. This led to a stellar defensive partnership with Sol Campbell. Known as the ‘Maddog’, Kolo was part of the 2004 Invincibles side that won the Premier League title going through an entire season unbeaten.
Did you know? During Liverpool’s recent tour in Australia, Kolo confessed he had a fear of animals after a team-bonding session with koala bears and despite previously owning a dog!
Arguably the most influential player in Chelsea’s history, the talismanic Ivory Coast striker joined the west London club in 2004 helping them win consecutive Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006. He has also won the Premier League Golden Boot on two separate occasions and slotted away the decisive penalty which led to the Blues’ Champions League triumph in 2012.
Did you know? He is the first African player to score 50 goals in European competitions.
Following a failed attempt at securing a work permit to play for Arsenal in 2003, Yaya finally arrived at ‘Middle Eastlands’ in 2010. The younger sibling to Liverpool’s Kolo, the faultless midfielder has won the Premier League and the African Footballer of the Year award on four consecutive occasions.
Did you know? He and brother Kolo have a famous chant to the tune of 2 Unlimited’s hit No Limit.
Probably the shortest player on this list (doesn’t stop him on the pitch though) this Cameroonian hero arrived on English shores at the peak of his career, after a lucrative stint at Russian club Anzhi. Eto’o scored a hat-trick against Manchester United and helped Chelsea thrash rivals Arsenal by 6-0 during the 2013-2014 season, before briefly moving northward to the blue half of Merseyside.
Did you know? He is the first player to win two European continental trebles following back-to-back achievements with Barcelona and Inter Milan.
OK, perhaps he didn’t ‘dominate’ the Premier League but he was still pretty good. In fact, I think the Liberian player turned politician is one of the greatest footballers of all time. Wenger brought him to Europe to play for Monaco in 1988. ’King George’ blossomed further at Paris Saint Germain and AC Milan before heading to England. In his first season on loan at Chelsea, he was key to their FA Cup triumph in 2000 but endured a brief and unsuccessful stint at Manchester City the following season.
Did you know? Weah is to date the only African player to win both the Fifa World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or awards in the same year.