The players on this list were chosen for their overall quality and current performance. There are captivating attackers, a defensive titan, and a goalie on the list.
●1st January 2023
World-class footballers are still being produced in sufficient quantities on the African continent. Who are the best African players right now, who are some of the top performers in Africa in 2022?
We’ve put together a definitive list of some best performers in the year. The players on this list were chosen for their overall quality and current performance. There are captivating attackers, a defensive titan, and a goalie on the list.
7) Edouard Mendy – Goalkeeper – Chelsea and Senegal
Edouard Mendy has had a wonderful 2022 and is considered as one of the top goalkeepers in the world. In January, the Chelsea goalkeeper was named as 2021 Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper after lifting the Champions League title with the London based outfit.
He played a key role in Senegal’s victory at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in February and then assisted his nation in qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup the following month. Mendy made it to the podium at 2022 CAF Awards, finishing third and also winning Senegal’s Player of the Year.
The 30-year-old featured in all of Senegal’s four games at the FIFA World Cup held in Qatar. It must however be noted that despite a strong start in 2022, Mendy has suffered criticisms from the Chelsea fan base and the lovers of football for some blunders committed.
6) Achraf Hakimi – Defender – Paris Saint Germain and Morocco
Achraf Hakimi has been instrumental for Ligue 1 UberEATS giants Paris Saint Germain and the Atlas Lions of Morocco in 2022. The Madrid born defender won the French topflight league and French Super Cup in 2022. With the national team he scored two goals and assisted one at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, helping them to a Quarterfinal finish.
The 24-year-old has also been highly instrumental to their fairytale run at the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosted by Qatar, assisting a goal in four games played so far.
The Moroccan international is an attack-minded full-back who can play on either flank and higher up the pitch if necessary. Hakimi, who is only 24 years old, has already played for Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Inter, and PSG, four of the top clubs in Europe.
5) Kalidou Koulibaly – Defender – Chelsea and Senegal
Kalidou Koulibaly was consistently excellent at the heart of Napoli’s backline before joining Chelsea in the summer. It is also impossible to overstate his contribution to the Teranga Lions, who he helped win their first Africa Cup of Nations championship earlier this year.
At the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the 31-year-old also guided the Senegalese national team to a Round of 16 result. Koulibaly is an asset in possession due to his physical strength and ability to dominate in the air, as well as his passing range and ball-carrying skills.
In the 2022 calendar year, Wilfried Zaha had his best scoring season at the club level, scoring 16 goals and providing one assist in 29 games for Crystal Palace. The Abidjan-born attacker still terrorizes full-backs with his speed and cunning, but he has recently improved greatly in and around the penalty area.
Although on the international scene, he was unable to inspire the Elephants of Ivory Coast to a podium finish in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. Zaha who is 30-years-old is running out of time to play on the biggest stage of all after failing to assist Ivory Coast in reaching the 2022 World Cup.
3) Victor Osimhen – Striker – S.S.C Napoli and Nigeria
Over the course of the year, Victor Osimhen has scored 19 goals and provided 6 assists in 32 games for his employers. Osimhen, 23, is reportedly a transfer target for Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, and Real Madrid. Given his resume, it’s not surprising that he’s in demand.
On the international scene he bagged five goals in four games for Nigeria this year but missed out on eight games due to injury. He was not on the Nigerian plane to Cameroon for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and was unable to inspire Nigeria to a win over Ghana in the World Cup playoffs.
2) Mohamed Salah – Winger – Liverpool and Egypt
Salah, who earned PFA Player of the Year for the seasons of 2021–2022, excelled as Liverpool won both domestic cups and placed second in the Premier League and the Champions League. The Egyptian played 47 times for Liverpool this year, contributing 10 assists and 22 goals.
On the international stage, the World Cup play-offs and the Africa Cup of Nations were unfortunately disappointing for Salah and his teammates.
1) Sadio Mane – Winger – Bayern Munich and Senegal
Liverpool lost Sadio Mane to FC Bayern Munich this summer, and it hasn’t been easy for them to replace him. The Senegalese star player was magnificent throughout his seven-year spell at Anfield, and has hit the ground running at the Allianz Arena also.
Mane led the Terenga Lions to a successful Africa Cup of Nations campaign and a World Cup ticket, although he was unable to play due to an injury. The 30-year-old was named CAF Footballer of the Year, beating fellow Teranga Lions teammate, Edouard Mendy and former Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah to the award.