Top 10: Ranking the Bundesliga’s greatest Africans

Who are the greatest ever African stars to have played in the German top flight?

#10 Sunday Oliseh

A Bundesliga-winner with Borussia Dortmund, Oliseh also clinched the Uefa Cup with BVB in 2002, having originally moved to Germany with FC Koln.

Despite playing at some major clubs—including Juventus—the Nigeria international didn’t always represent big sides during years when they were their nation’s dominant force, although he did win an Eredivisie with Ajax.

The defensive midfielder was a key figure in the Super Eagles’ Golden Generation in the mid-90s, winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and an Olympic gold medal in 1996.

His finest moment, however, was perhaps his sensational match-winner against Spain at the 1998 World Cup.

#9 Victor Ikpeba

Part of the Super Eagles team that won an Afcon-and-Olympic double in the mid-1990s, Ikpeba was also named the African Footballer of the Year in 1997, the fourth Nigerian player to win the award.

He netted 13 goals en route to the Ligue 1 title in 1997, a season in which he also finished second top scorer in the Uefa Cup, and moved onto Borussia Dortmund in 1999, reuniting with Oliseh.

Unfortunately, Ikpeba struggled to impress in his first season, was largely inactive in his second, and was in relatively poor shape by the time he signed on loan for Real Betis in 2001.

#8 Tony Yeboah
Having twice been a top scorer in the Ghanaian Premier League, Yeboah would go on to repeat the feat in Germany, winning two Bundesliga Golden Boots during his time with Eintracht Frankfurt.

He was both a superb scorer of goals and a scorer of superb goals, and endeared himself to Leeds United fans after moving to the Premier League with a series of magnificent strikes.

Until Gareth Bale replicated the feat in 2013, Yeboah was the first and only player to win the Goal of the Month award in two consecutive months.

#7 Salomon Kalou

Kalou makes the cut here, primarily, for all he achieved with Chelsea, having won a host of honours during a six-year stay with the Blues.

He may have never truly established himself as a consistent first-teamer during his time at Stamford Bridge, but Kalou still won the Premier League, four FA Cups, and the 2012 Champions League by the time he left London.

Arguably, a transfer to LOSC Lille in 2012 maybe sold himself short, and Kalou, now 34, moved to Bundesliga Hertha Berlin in 2014.

#6 Medhi Benatia
Hardly the most beloved of footballers, but Benatia did win a pair of Serie A titles and a pair of Bundesligas during his time with Juventus and Bayern Munich respectively.

They’re achievements which put him, alongside the likes of Michael Essien, Mahamadou Diarra and Yaya Toure, in a very elite group of players who have won two or more titles in two of Europe’s major leagues.

#5 Rigobert Song

Legendary Cameroon defender who represented the Indomitable Lions at four World Cups, and won two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments with the Central African giants.

He only spent a brief period on loan at Koln in 2001, struggling to make an impression, and stayed at Liverpool for just one campaign after arriving in 1999.

For Galatasaray, however, ‘Tonton’ Rigobert made over 100 league appearances and won two titles.

#4 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

A one-time African Footballer of the Year, it’s testament to Aubameyang’s consistency and regular output in front of goal that he made Caf’s podium on a further four occasions—finishing runner-up twice and third-place twice.

On six occasions, Auba has made Caf’s Team of the Year, while he’s won the Golden Boot in both England and Germany, memorably knocking Robert Lewandowski off his perch in the 2016-17 season.

A year earlier, Aubameyang had won the Bundesliga Players’ Player of the Year award, although while he’s struck double figures for goals in the league for the past nine years, he’s still never won a major league title.

#3 Abedi Pele
One of Africa’s greatest players, there aren’t too many continental stars in history who can match the Ghanaian for raw talent and technical prowess.

By the time he arrived in Germany, with 1860 Munich, he’d already won the Nations Cup with Ghana in 1982—a competition where he won the Player of the Tournament award—and reached the final a decade later.

The highlight of his career, of course, came in 1993, when the ‘Maradona of Africa’ won the Champions League with Olympique de Marseille.

#2 Sammy Kuffour
The most successful African player ever to play in the Bundesliga, Kuffour won six German titles—all with Bayern Munich—and also became a European champion in 2001 when the Bavarians won the Champions League on penalties.

He was one of the finest centre-backs of his generation, marrying athleticism and a strong defensive sense, and amassed over half a century of Black Stars caps.

#1 Jay-Jay Okocha

One of the most exquisite playmakers ever to play the game, Okocha was a mesmerising technician, capable of flair, flamboyance, and unthinkable invention.

His club level didn’t produce the honours that his talent deserved, although he did win the Bundesliga Goal of the Season with Eintracht Frankfurt, as one of the highlights of a career that also took in spells at Paris Saint-Germain, Fenerbahce and Bolton Wanderers.

With the Super Eagles, Okocha was a Nations Cup winner in 1994, clinched the Olympic gold two years later, and was part of the side that escaped from the group stage to reach the World Cup knockouts in 1998.

 

Source: Myjoyonline.com

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