Africa has produced some of the greatest footballers,few of which have gone on to become absolute legends of the game. Many of these players came from poor background,but poverty did not stop these footballers from going on to take over the game at its highest level. Today we will have a look at some of the best African players in Premier League History.
Here are the top 10 best African Players in Premier League history –
10. Joseph Yobo
Yobo joined Everton on loan in July 2002 with an option to make the move permanent.He was David Moyes’ first signing as a Everton manager.In 2003 his loan move was made permanent.
Yobo became one of the most consistent players in the Everton squad, and was one of only seven players in the entire league to play every minute of every game throughout the 2006–07 season. He became one of Everton’s most important and consistent players.
He held the record for most appearances from an overseas player at Everton till 2012 and was made captain in 2008 when he chose to extend his contract at Goodison,turning down a move to Arsenal.
9. Yakubu Aiyegbeni
Yakubu was a prolific goalscorer and had successful spells at Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton and Blackburn. He managed to score 96 goals in the league,second highest for an African footballer in the Premier League. His quality of finishing and laid back approach made him an instant hit with all the teams he played for.
His career in English football started with Portsmouth in 2003,Yakubu helped Portsmouth win the 2002–03 Division 1(Championship) title, leading to promotion to the Premier League. He played 37 of Portsmouth’s 38 Premier League matches in 2003–04. Yakubu’s 16 goals made him the club’s leading goal-scorer, and joint-sixth highest scorer in the entire league.
Overall he managed to score 29 goals in 65 matches in the league over two seasons and was then sold to Middlesbrough in 2005. After playing two seasons for Middlesbrough and scoring 25 goals,Yakubu was transferred to Everton in August 2007 for a fee of £11.25 million on a five-year deal,which was at the time the most the club had ever paid for a player.
He then joined Blackburn in 2011.In his first season at Blackburn, he scored 18 goals, but the club were relegated to the Championship by the end of the season after a 1–0 home loss to in-form Wigan Athletic. After relegation was confirmed, Yakubu stated that he did not want to play Championship football and he left Blackburn.
8. Riyad Mahrez
Mahrez’s incredible journey with Leicester Started in the January of 2014. He helped them win the Championship and promotion to the Premier League at the end of his first season. The following season he was one of the main reasons why Leicester madea great escape and survived from relegation.
But the best was saved for 2015-16 season, Mahrez along with Jamie Vardy were the sensation of the season as Leicester won the league defying all the odds. The very year he was voted the Algerian Footballer of the Year, the PFA Players’ Player of the Year, and was a member of the Premier League PFA Team of the Year.
7. Jay-Jay Okocha
Okocha was known for his confidence, technique, creativity, and dribbling skills, as well as his use of feints, in particular the stepover.He is widely regarded as the best Nigerian player of his generation and one of the greatest African players of all time.
Okocha joined Bolton Wanderers on a free transfer in the summer of 2002. His debut season, despite being hampered by injuries, made him a favourite with the Bolton fans, with the team printing shirts with the inscription “Jay-Jay – so good they named him twice”. His heroics helped Bolton beat the drop and earned him the ”BBC African Player of the Year”.
Okocha was given captain’s armband next season following Guðni Bergsson’s retirement. As captain he led Bolton to their first cup final in nine years where they finished runners-up in the 2004 Football League Cup to Middlesbrough FC.He left the club in 2006 for Qatar SC.