Africa has hosted incredible talents over the years. In the last century, players have entered the world of football from the continent with astonishing speeds, amazing dribbles, accurate passes, timely shots, incredible power, incredible movement, great speed and excellent scoring technique.
In the meantime, it is very interesting that some of the best strikers in the world are African. These players have proven their worth in both African and European leagues and are well known.
Here, AfroBallers take a look at the African top scorers in football history
Roger Milla (811 games, 479 goals)
It would be a mistake to honour Milla merely for his contribution to two Cameroonian World Cup campaigns, in 1990 and 1994, even though obviously, these performances shape his legacy.
At the first tournament, in Italy, 38-year-old Milla scored four goals as the Indomitable Lions reached the quarter-finals, before becoming the tournament’s oldest goalscorer in the United States four years later.
However, these achievements came at the end of a glittering international career in which he twice won the Africa Cup of Nations, twice won the tournament’s Golden Boot, and was the Player of the Tournament in 1986.
At club level, he won a handful of French Cups during a spell in Europe, and this two-time African Footballer of the Year was also named, by Caf, as the African Player of the Century.
Samuel Eto’o (800 games, 426 goals)
While the other individuals on this list may have scored more than Eto’o, or received greater international acclaim, none can match the retiring striker’s overall impact.
He was asked to play a modified role during Internazionale’s Champions League success of 2010, but his goals were influential in Barcelona’s UCL triumphs of 2006 and 2008.
As well as his achievements in Europe’s premier club competition, he also won four league titles in Spain and Italy, and won the Pichichi in 2006.
He retires as the Africa Cup of Nations’ all-time top scorer, netting 18, and clinched the Golden Boot on two occasions.
A two-time Afcon winner, Eto’o is also the all-time top scorer for the Cameroon national team, and for RCD Mallorca, despite featuring for the Spanish side for just four full seasons.
Godfrey Chitalu (598 games, 393 goals)
Chitalu is widely regarded as the greatest Zambian player of all time as he holds his national team’s goalscoring record and was voted Zambian footballer of the year five times. As well, he was selected by CAF as one of the best 200 African footballers of the past 50 years in 2006.
The Football Association of Zambia claimed that Chitalu scored more than 100 goals in all competitions in 1972, more than Gerd Müller’s total in 1972 and Lionel Messi’s total in 2012, both of which are often referred to by journalist as “world records”.
The research was presented in the year 2012 after Lionel Messi broke the alleged world record of Gerd Müller. Nevertheless, a FIFA spokesman declared that an official FIFA world record had never existed as they did not keep track of domestic competitions
Didier Drogba (795 games, 369 goals)
Despite Drogba’s international struggles with the Ivory Coast, he nonetheless represented the national side at three World Cups, and was top scorer at the 2010 Nations Cup.
He remains the Elephants’ all-time top scorer, but his achievements for Chelsea are what truly give him such a prominent spot in this list.
The two-time African Footballer of the Year—he made the podium on a further six occasions—is arguably the Blues’ greatest player, and one of Africa’s greatest exports to Europe.
He almost single-handedly dragged Chelsea to the Champions League in 2012, and is the club’s fourth highest goalscorer of all time.
The 41-year-old is the only player to score in four FA Cup finals, and also won four Premier League titles with the Pensioners.
Dieumerci Mbokani (704 games, 328 goals)
Mbokani is a Congolese professional footballer who plays as a striker for Belgian Pro League club Royal Antwerp. He has previously played for TP Mazembe, Anderlecht, Wolfsburg, Monaco, Standard Liège, Norwich City, Hull City and Dynamo Kyiv.
Mbokani began his career at local side Bel’Or and was a league topscorer in the 2004 season with 16 goals
Mbokani represented the DR Congo at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013 and 2015, helping them to third place at the latter tournament.
Mbokani was caught up in the 2016 Brussels bombings, alongside his international teammate Cédric Bakambu. Though both escaped unscathed, Mbokani was reportedly left “shaken”.In the aftermath of this, after being sanctioned for missing a game as a result, he retired from international football with 41 caps and 18 goals
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (589 games, 300 goals)
Aubameyang is renowned for his pace, finishing, and off-ball movement. He is widely considered to be one of the best forwards and finishers in world football.
The son of former Gabonese international Pierre Aubameyang, Aubameyang began his senior club career playing for Italian club A.C. Milan, but never appeared for the club as he went on a series of loan spells in France. He moved to Saint-Étienne in 2011.
There, he won a Coupe de la Ligue title and joined Borussia Dortmund in 2013. In Germany, Aubameyang finished as the league’s top goalscorer in the 2016–17 season and won a DFB-Pokal. He also ranks as the club’s sixth highest all-time goalscorer.
There’s no questioning Aubameyang’s goal-scoring track-record or calibre, with the Gabonese star proving himself time and again as one of Europe’s most clinical and reliable finishers.
George Weah (628 games, 288 goals)
As the only African player to win the Ballon d’Or, Weah will always have a place in any discussion of the continent’s greats. Plus, in terms of raw talent, it’s hard to find too many players who boasted greater technique and skill than the Liberia forward.
However, in terms of honours, he’s a notch or two below the top two on this list.
Individually, he won two African Footballer of the Year awards, but he won relatively little at club level. Two Serie A titles were scant reward for a player of his talent, and he arrived at AC Milan between two even more successful eras for the club.
In England, he won the FA Cup, and in France he clinched Ligue 1, but obviously, due to Liberia’s lowly status, he never clinched silverware with the Lone Stars…or made a World Cup.
Asamoah Gyan (533 games, 274 goals)
Gyan began his career in 2003 with Ghanaian Premier League club Liberty Professionals scoring ten goals in sixteen matches then spent three seasons with Serie A club Udinese via two seasons loan at Modena netting on fifteen occasions in 53 league matches and at Udinese where he scored 11 times in 39 league matches
In 2011, Gyan joined Al Ain of the UAE Pro-League on loan and became the league’s top-goalscorer, scoring 24 times in 27 matches.
In the following season, Gyan permanently joined Al Ain and once again became the league’s top-goalscorer while he helped Al Ain retain the UAE Pro-League title, scoring an impressive 28 goals in 32 matches. In the 2013–14 season, Gyan scored on 44 occasions in 40 matches with Al Ain.
Gyan is the all-time leading goalscorer of the Ghana national team, with 51 goals. He represented Ghana at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups. With 6 goals, he is the top African goalscorer in the history of the World Cup.
Ahmed Faras (325 games, 275 goals)
Faras is a Moroccan former footballer who played as a striker for Chabab Mohammédia at club level and Morocco internationally.
Faras was named African Footballer of the Year in 1975. In 2006, Faras was selected by CAF as one of the best 200 African football players of the last 50 years.
Faras played for Chabab Mohammédia between 1965 and 1982, winning the Moroccan League in 1981 and finishing as the league’s top-scorer in 1969 and 1973. He retired in 1982, after spending 17 years with the club.
Faras was a member of Morocco national team from 1965 to 1979, wearing the captain’s armband for eight consecutive years, starting from 1971. At international level, Faras took part in the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, and the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, before leading his team to African Cup of Nations success in 1976.
Faras scored a total of 36 goals in 94 games for his national side.
Salif Keita (404 games, 259 goals)
Keita was born in Bamako, playing in his country for AS Real Bamako and Stade Malien. With the former, which he represented in two different spells, he was always crowned Première Division champion.
In 1967, 20-year-old Keita left for France to join AS Saint-Étienne, where he won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles, including the double in 1968 and 1970.
In his last two seasons with Les Verts combined, he scored an astonishing 71 league goals – 42 alone in the 1970–71 campaign – but the team failed to win any silverware; in 1970, he was voted African Footballer of the Year.
In 1963, at the age of only 16, Keita was selected to play for Mali. He was part of the squad that appeared at the 1972 African Cup of Nations in Cameroon, helping the national team finish second.