Kanu, Drogba… List of top African footballers that didn’t win AFCON

 Kanu, Drogba… List of top African footballers that didn’t win AFCON

The 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) came to an end few days ago with Ivory Coast pulling a host-to-win.

The AFCON is a celebration of African talent, culture, and love of the beautiful game rather than just a football competition. It is the place where dreams come true and legends are made.

Notable African players have made significant local and global contributions to the game of football. Sadly, though, despite their outstanding achievements overseas, some of these great African players were never able to lift the biggest international trophy in Africa football.

Despite making numerous appearances, some of them have laboured in vain and failed to bring home the trophy for their nations. The following eight players are the greatest to have never won an AFCON trophy:

Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria) 

The impact of Nwankwo Kanu in football is enormous. In addition to being a household name in Nigerian football, he is also highly respected in European teams such as Ajax, Inter Milan, and most notably Arsenal. His height and technical prowess offered him a distinct advantage in the sports of football.

Nwankwo kanu

Even though Kanu did well in club football and the Olympics, there were several near misses throughout his AFCON journey.

He made it to five AFCON semi-finals with Nigeria; his most memorable effort came in 2000, when the Super Eagles made it that to the final but lost to Cameroon in a penalty shootout. That was a golden opportunity for Kanu to add an AFCON title to his already impressive resume.

Mohamed Salah (Egypt) 

The only active footballer in our list, Mohamed Salah of Egypt is one of the unluckiest players here because he comes from the nation with the most AFCON titles and is recognised as one of the best African players of all time, but he has never lifted the trophy.

Mohammed Salah

The Liverpool star man has twice been an AFCON losing finalist. In 2022 on penalties against Senegal and in 2017 against Cameroon. Salah’s story is not finished, though, as he may still have the opportunity to play for his nation in AFCON competitions in the future.

Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast) 

One of the greatest African strikers of all time, Didier Drogba had a brilliant career at Chelsea, winning multiple titles during his his time with the blues.

In addition to his many accolades at Stamford Bridge, he represented Ivory Coast in three World Cups including their first World Cup appearance in 2006.

Didier Drogba

Even though he was the top scorer for the Afcon in 2012, he was never able to win the biggest prize. The Elephants lost on penalties in both of the finals he participated in (2006 and 2012), Ivory Coast won the AFCON in 2015 just a year after Drogba retired, making his international career a case of too close, too far.

George Weah ( Liberia) 

Being the only African player to win the Ballon d’Or to date, George Weah’s accomplishments in football are unmatched among African footballers.

However, his home country’s inadequate infrastructure and resources for football hindered his international career with Liberia.

George Weah

The Republic of Liberia’s former president was able to guide his country to two AFCON tournaments, but they were unable to advance past the group stage. Throughout his AFCON career, he only managed one goal and no victories.

El-Hadji Diouf (Senegal) 

El-Hadji Diouf was renowned for his skill as a footballer and fiery personality. He played a significant role in Senegal’s early 2000s golden age, which included the country’s run to the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals in 2002.

El-Hadji Diouf

Diouf and his squad were unable to advance far in the AFCON, with their closest effort coming in 2002 when they were defeated by Cameroon in the final.

Senegal’s football history was changed by this pivotal event, which marked the beginning of their dominance in the African football but did not result in continental success.

Michael Essien (Ghana)

Essien was a physically powerful midfield player who frequently filled a central midfield position. In addition, Essien had strong leadership abilities, vision, technique, and tactical intelligence.

Michael Essien

Despite being one of Ghana’s top exports, the legendary Chelsea player was never able to win the ultimate trophy.

In 2008, he assisted the Black Stars in winning a bronze medal at home. In 2010, the team lost to Egypt in the final. So, he never took home the African Best Award.

Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo) 

Togo was greatly impacted by Emmanuel Adebayor, who is well-known for his tenure in the English Premier League, mainly with Arsenal and Manchester City.

Emmanuel Adebayor

Adebayor failed to lead Togo to AFCON glory despite his scoring prowess and recognition as the 2008 African Player of the Year. Reaching the quarterfinals in 2013 was his greatest accomplishment in the continental competition.

Sammy Kuffour (Ghana) 

Kuffour played as a center-back for Bayern Munich and won the Champions League and several Bundesliga titles with German club. However, he was never made able by to lift the nations cup Ghana.

Kuffour’s career was coming to an end when the West Africans made their consecutive run of AFCON semi-final appearances.

See also: Uzoho, Maduka, Iwobi… List of Super Eagles players cyberbullied

Related post