We continue with our nostalgic trip down memory lane, featuring some of Africa’s greatest footballers. Every great team needs a great goalkeeper, the last line of defense. This week we bring some of the finest goalkeepers ever produced on this continent for the last 30 years.
10. Andre Arendse,
played a key role in Bafana Bafana’s 1996 AFCON glory. He was also instrumental in helping South African qualify for its maiden FIFA World Cup 1998, but had to withdraw from the squad in France due to injury, but played at the 2002 World Cup in Korea/ Japan. He earned 67 caps for the national team. Arendse commanded the box very well. A good reader of game, an organizer and leader from the ball. He also had a successful club career and once at one stage on the books of Fullham in England, though he didn’t play much.
9. David Efford Chabala ,
was Zambia’s first choice goalkeeper for 10 years, until that fateful plane crash that killed the whole Chipolopolo off the coast of Gabon. He used his imposing physical presence to intimidate strikers. He was great shot stopper, very brave and a leader. He also played at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. At the 1990 African Cup of Nations, he kept four clean sheets out of five matches inspiring Zambia to a 3rd place finish. His heroics at the tournament earned him the prize of best goalkeeper at the tournament by journalists covering the tournament.
8. Essam El hadary,
is rated as arguably one of the Africa’s greatest goalkeepers of all-time. He has enjoyed 21-year career with the Pharaoh’s winning the AFCON a record 4 times, he has also won the CAF Champions League 4 times with Al Ahly. Didier Drogba once described him as the “best opponent” he has ever played against. He possesses one of the safest pair of hands. At the ripe age of 44 he inspired Egypt earlier this year to the finals of the AFCON agonizingly losing to Cameroon and that tournament took his international caps tally to an incredible 153.
7. Vincent Enyeama,
earned an incredible 101 caps for the Super Eagles before his retirement two years ago. He played in two FIFA World Cups and inspired Nigeria to the 2013 AFCON title in South Africa, it was also in the same year that he was handed the captaincy armband. A great shot stopper, who knew how to organize his defence and lead from the back.
6. Idriss Kameni,
earned his first call up to be part of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon at the age of 17, and the following year he made the final team for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan. He was a part of the Cameroon team that won the 2000 Sydney Olympics football tournament and two years later, he lifted the AFCON Title. Kameni, was very good with is feet at well, allowed the team to build from the back. He was also brave, and commanded his box very well, and terrific shot stopper. He was also a great communicator.
5. Peter Rufai,
captained Nigeria at their first ever FIFA World Cup appearance in 1994 in the US, and featured 4 years later in France 1998. Rufai also won the AFCON 1994. He used his great physical attributes to dominate his box. He was a good reader of the game, and that enabled him to organize his defence very well. He was also a great leader, hence his appointment as captain in a team that was well stocked with leadership. Certainly one of the greats of his generation
4. Dennis Onyango,
the reigning CAF Goalkeeper of the year after his exploits with South African side, Mamelodi Sundowns winning the CAF Champions League and inspiring Uganda to qualify for the 2017 Edition of the African Cup of Nations. He conceded only 2 goals in 6 matches during the qualifiers. Built like tank, his intimidating physical presence frightens strikers in one-on-one duels. He is very dominant in the air as well. Onyango was ranked as the tenth best goalkeeper in the world for 2016 in a list compiled by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics. Arguably one of the best of his generation.
3. Jacques Songo,
represented Cameroon in four World Cups, but only as first choice at the 1998 FIFA World in France. In 1996 he was voted the best goalkeeper in Africa, he also won the AFCON twice in 1988 and 2002. He had to compete with two other great keepers in his country who also greats, Joseph Antoine Bell and Thomas Nkono, but still amassed 98 caps for the indomitable Lions. He also had a hugely successful club career with in Spain with Deportivo La Coruna and France with Metz, Le Mans and Touloun.
2. Tony Sylva ,
came into prominence on the global stage when he kept goals for Senegal at the 2002 FIFA World Cup where the Teranga Lions, reached the quarterfinals. He earned 83 caps and finished runners-up in the 2002 AFCON. Silva is spent most of his career in the French notably for AS Monaco and Lille before spending his final two years in Turkey with Trabzonspor. His great qualities as a keeper, was his calm demeanor under pressure. He had a good sense of positioning in his box, and commanded his area very well.
1. Thomas Nkono,
arguably Africa’s greatest ever goalkeeper. His place is assured on African football’s hall of fame. One of the stars of Cameroon’s Italia 90 quarterfinal finish. Featured in 3 World Cup and 4 AFCONS and was twice voted the best player in Africa. Juventus and Italy’s legendary number 1, Gianluigi Buffon declared that he decided to play as a goalkeeper after watching Nkono’s heroics at the 1990 World Cup and later named his first son Louis Thomas in honor of the Cameroonian. He is Africa’s undisputed number one. He is the benchmark against which goalkeepers are judged on the continent.