Kanu, Drogba and other African legends who didn't win AFCON

Kanu, Drogba and other African legends who didn't win AFCON

Despite being held in mixed esteem by some in Europe, the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) remains the biggest trophy that African footballers can win on the continent.

Unlike in Europe, where debate continues over whether the UEFA Champions League is bigger and more glamorous than the Euro Championship, AFCON is Africa's most glamorous football extravaganza.

However, although there are some great football players in the African football world whose names would attract people anywhere in the world, AFCON is an amazing player, despite having achieved great results before retiring. The number of medals won remained elusive.

The Guardian has researched a list of the 10 greatest African players who have never won AFCON's golden trophy, and claims AFCON is over with the game of football.

Nwankwo Kanu

Nwankwo Kanu

Kanu, one of the most fortunate, intelligent and talented footballers to ever come from the continent, belies the physique of African footballers. Because his physicality was never an attribute he had.

But instead, the Arsenal and Nigeria legend had the most devastatingly deft touch seen in this game.

Kanu remains the most decorated player in the history of Nigerian football, with few active or retired African-American male players able to match him in terms of the number of trophies won.

The 47-year-old, affectionately known as 'Papiro' during his playing days, won the UEFA Champions League once, the Dutch Eredivisie three times, the Dutch Super Cup once and the Intercontinental Cup once.

Kanu moved to England with Arsenal in 1999, winning the Premier League twice, the English FA Cup three times and the Super Cup once.

One of his FA Cup wins came with Portsmouth, also in England. He also won the UEFA Super Cup once with Inter Milan.

He led Nigeria's U-23 team to a historic soccer gold medal at the 1996 Olympics, making Nigeria the first African country to achieve the feat.

The former Super Eagles captain is the only Nigerian player to have won the African Player of the Year award twice, in 1996 and 1999, but has never won an AFCON title.

The closest he came was in 2000, when Nigeria lost 4-3 to Cameroon on penalties after 2-2 in regulation time at the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.

Didier Drogba

Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba

Drogba achieved legendary status in African football after joining Chelsea from Olympique de Marseille in France in 2004.

It's almost unbelievable that despite making 105 appearances and scoring 65 international goals for the Ivorian Elephants, he never won an AFCON title.

Regarded as one of the formidable strikers to have played in the Premier League, the former Ivory Coast captain won several league titles, the FA Cup and one memorable UEFA Champions League title with Chelsea.

Before moving to Chelsea in 2004, Marseille came close to winning the then UEFA Cup, but Marseille lost to Valencia in the final.

Although he is well known in Europe and is one of the best players in African history, he was unable to win an AFCON with Ivory Coast.

He was part of the Ivorian team that reached the finals of the tournament in 2006 and 2012, but in both competitions the Elephants lost on penalties.

Unfortunately for Drogba, he retired in 2014, although he was named CAF Player of the Year twice. It was exactly one year before Ivory Coast won their second title in 2015, defeating Ghana 9-8 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in 120 minutes. of soccer.

El Hadj Diouf

El Hadji Diouf of Senegal

It is no exaggeration to say that players like Diouf have pioneered Senegal's resurgence as a powerhouse in African football.

During his career, he was known as a rough-and-tumble, no-nonsense, aggressive, bullish and skilled player and was the arrowhead of the Teranga Lions in the early 2000s.

He was the most popular of a group of players that included Khalilou Fadiga, Ferdinand Cory, Aliou Cissé, Omar Duff, Henri Kamara and Salihu Diao.

Diouf and his mates came very close to winning African football's biggest prize in 2002, losing on penalties to Cameroon in the final in Mali.

Sadly, this would be the first and last time the golden generation of the Senegalese side would lift a trophy.

The team's talent was extraordinary, and they attracted even more international attention when they stunned a star-studded French team in the opening game of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Japan-Korea.

The former Liverpool striker joins the list of great African footballers who have failed to win the AFCON trophy.

michael eschen

Ghanaian national team midfielder Michael Essien

One of Ghana's greatest athletes, Essien rose from the shackles of poverty and struggle to rise to stardom.

Essien was a fighter and an excellent soccer player who covered every blade of grass in any match.

Chelsea, along with many fellow African footballers, gave players like him a place to rise from humble beginnings to international stars.

He was part of the promising and unstoppable Black Stars team at the 2010 AFCON, but the 2006 BBC Africa representative finished runners-up as Ghana lost to Egypt, who won their seventh title in Angola. All I could do was finish.

george ware

Liberian legend George Weah

Weah means the phrase, “Can anything good come out of Israel?” During his playing days, the former Liberian president symbolized strength, precision, dexterity, intelligence, power, and European sensitivity as an African footballer.

He has been in charge of the country's senior national team for many years. He was a rallying force and a captain who guided them through the years.

As a reminder of how great he was as a footballer, Weah remains to this day the only African to win the prestigious Ballon d'Or.

Although he was named CAF Player of the Year in 1989 and 1995, it was always difficult for him to make it on the international stage given the size of the country.

He was only able to help Liberia qualify for the AFCON twice (1996 and 2002), and both times they were eliminated in the group stage.

Asamoah Gyan

Ghanaian forward Asamoah Gyan celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Group D soccer match between Ghana and Mali in Port Gentil on January 21, 2017.
Justin Tallis/AFP

In his country, it is often said that prophets have no honor, and perhaps Gyan fits that description perfectly.

Although he was often criticized for missing the crucial penalty against Uruguay that could have given Ghana a place in the semi-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, his goal record speaks for itself. There is.

Gyan, known as 'Baby Jet', holds the record for most goals scored by an African player at a World Cup (six).

Ever since he retired from the national team, Ghana has struggled to find a striker like him, but despite all his achievements, AFCON remained his Achilles heel.

The 2010 BBC Africa Player of the Year lost twice in the final (2010 and 2015) and the Black Stars have not won the tournament since 1982.

Emmanuel Adebayor

Togolese forward Emmanuel Adebayor reacts after missing a goal opportunity during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Group C soccer match between Togo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Port-Gentil on January 24, 2017. Justin Tallis/AFP

Arguably the most famous football export in Togo's history, Adebayor played for some of Europe's biggest clubs.

The 39-year-old played for Real Madrid, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

He was the biggest brand during his playing days, playing 87 games and scoring 32 goals for the Togo national team.

However, the 2008 African Player of the Year was unable to lift the trophy at AFCON due to the lack of Togo.

He became the top scorer with 11 goals in qualifying and qualified for the 2006 tournament, but the team failed to advance beyond the group stage.

Mustafa Hadji

Moroccan legend Mustafa Hadji

Many Nigerians recognize Haji as the recipient of the award, which was won by Nigerian midfielder Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha for his dazzling performance at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France in 1998. You may remember him as the Moroccan who won the CAF Men's Player of the Year award in 2017.

But Okocha can take solace in the fact that he won his first AFCON in 1994.

But Haji, who was a sharp player for the Atlas Lions team in the late 90s, was unable to help his country win championships.

The furthest the 1998 African Player of the Year went against Morocco was in the quarter-finals of the 1998 AFCON.

Frederick Canute

Mali legend Frédéric Kanuto

Another player who won Africa's Player of the Year award but failed to win the continent's top football award is former Mali national team captain Kanoute.

Kanuto made his name at Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla, achieving near-legendary status as he scored 89 goals in 209 appearances for the La Liga club.

The 2007 African Player of the Year could only help Mali reach the semi-finals of the 2004 AFCON.

Samuel Osei Kufuor

Samuel Osei Kufuor

Osei Kuffour is undoubtedly one of the great players in African football who never had the opportunity to win an AFCON despite winning numerous trophies at club level.

The centre-back, a Champions League winner with Bayern Munich and a number of Bundesliga titles, had never won a Nations Cup despite making five appearances with Ghana.

He was part of the team that represented the Black Stars in their first ever World Cup appearance in 2006, but by the time the West Africans embarked on back-to-back appearances in the AFCON semi-finals, Kuffour's career was over.

Known for his athleticism, the former defender is best remembered for representing Bayern for more than a decade, winning a total of 14 honours, and making around 250 appearances in all competitions.

Source: guardian.ng

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