Africa has produced many great 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 –
6. 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.
5. Michael Essien
At Chelsea, Essien helped the club win the Premier League in 2006 and 2010, as well as three FA Cups and one Football League Cup in a 9-year spell at the west London club. In 2008, he appeared in the UEFA Champions League Final. He has won the Chelsea Goal of the season award twice, in the 2006–07 and 2008–09 seasons.
He was voted BBC African Player of the Year in 2006. Known for his box-to-box dominant displays, Essien’s tough-tackling style earned him the nickname “The Bison.”
He became the first African in the Premier League to be nominated for FIFA player of the year and Ballon D’Or in the same season in 2007.
4. Nwankwo Kanu
In the Premier League Kanu played for Arsenal,West Brom and Portsmouth. His goal scoring record was far from prolific with 44 goals managed in 197 games but his influence on the Arsenal team and his link up with others was second to none.
Kanu was named African Footballer of the Year for the second time in 1999, and in 1999–2000 he scored 17 times in 50 matches for the Gunners, including a hat-trick in fifteen minutes against Chelsea to turn a 2–0 deficit to a 3–2 victory. This made him an instant hero amongst the arsenal faithful. Kanu won the double, the fa cup and managed 10 games in 2004 which was the quota for another Premier League success for the Nigerian.
In 2004, he signed for West Bromwich Albion, scoring only 9 goals in 58 games. He left one year later to Portsmouth, becoming a crucial part of their famous 2008 FA Cup winning side.