Top 6 Footballers With the Most African Footballer of the Year awards

Top 6 Footballers With the Most African Footballer of the Year awards

Isaac Darko
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
  • CAF have revealed the final shortlists for this year's CAF Player of the Year Award
  • Ghana icon Abedi Pele was the first recipient of this award in 1992
  • Here are the top 6 players with the most African Footballer of the Year awards

Just days before the 2023 CAF Awards, the Confederation of African Football revealed the three finalists for each category.

In the men's category, Nigeria's striker Victor Osimhen will vie for the honour alongside Egypt's Mohammed Salah, the winger for Liverpool. Achraf Hakimi, a defender for PSG and Morocco, completes the trio of top contenders, awaiting the vote next Monday.

African stars with the most footballer of the year awards, Samuel Eto'o, Abedi Pele, Yaya Toure, Roger Milla, Didier Drigba
. Sports Brief looks at the top 6 players with the most African Footballer of the Year awards. Photos by Josep Lago/Michael Regan/ Gary M. Prior
Source: Getty Images

The African Footballer of the Year award, recognizing the continent's best player in a calendar year, was introduced by the Confederation of African Football in 1992.

Before this accolade, the Golden Ball Award was presented by France Football magazine from 1970 to 1994. The reigning champion of the 2022 African Footballer of the Year is Sadio Mane.

In the lead-up to the event, Sports Brief examines the noteworthy list of the top six players with the most African Footballer of the Year awards.

6. Roger Milla (2 times)

Roger Milla emerged as one of the early African footballers to achieve international acclaim. Spanning nearly three decades, his extensive career left a lasting impact. Milla rose to prominence during the 1990 World Cup, where, at the age of 38, he scored four goals, becoming the oldest player to find the net in the tournament.

His stellar performance played a crucial role in propelling Cameroon to the Quarter Finals, marking the first instance of an African team reaching that stage in a World Cup. Milla continued to defy age in the 1994 World Cup by extending his own record with another goal.

The forward clinched the award twice and secured second place on two occasions, along with a third-place finish in his remarkable career.

5. Didier Drogba

Didier Drogba stands among the premier African players who have graced the Premier League. The iconic Chelsea figure boasts multiple Premier League titles and a Champions League victory in his illustrious career.

In addition to his tenure at Chelsea, the striker has showcased his skills at renowned clubs such as Marseille and Galatasaray, among others.

The ex-Marseille star played a pivotal role in Ivory Coast's historic first-ever World Cup qualification in 2006, notably scoring the nation's inaugural goal in this prestigious tournament.

Drogba's excellence is further highlighted by his two-time attainment of the African Footballer of the Year award, securing the honour in 2006 and 2009. Additionally, he achieved runner-up status in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2012 for the same prestigious award.

4. Abedi Pele (3 times)

Abedi Pele is widely regarded as one of the greatest African players in history. The Ghanaian footballer showcased his talent across various European clubs, with a significant portion of his career centred in France.

Primarily recognised as an attacking midfielder, Pele achieved success by winning the prestigious Champions League along with other notable titles.

Despite amassing 73 appearances for Ghana, he did not have the opportunity to participate in a World Cup. Abedi Pele boasts the remarkable feat of clinching the African Footballer of the Year award three times in his illustrious career.

3. George Weah( 3 times)

George Weah remains the sole player to have secured the FIFA Player of the Year award while representing an African nation on the international stage.

The Liberian's illustrious career unfolded across various European clubs, including AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, and Manchester City, among others.

Notably, he emerged as the top scorer in the 1994/95 edition of the UEFA Champions League. Despite not having the opportunity to participate in a World Cup with Liberia, Weah played a crucial role in guiding his nation to qualify for the African Cup of Nations on two occasions.

Throughout his remarkable career, George Weah earned the prestigious award three times.

2. Yaya Toure (4 times)

Yaya Toure stands as one of the preeminent African players in the 21st century. Throughout his career, he showcased his versatility by excelling in both defensive and midfield roles.

Toure played a pivotal role in Manchester City's notable ascent to success, contributing significantly to the club's thrilling Premier League triumph in 2012 and subsequently securing numerous other titles.

Beyond his tenure with City, Toure has also showcased his talents at clubs such as Barcelona, among others.

Internationally, he represented Ivory Coast in three World Cups and six African Cup of Nations tournaments. The midfielder holds an impressive record for the most African Footballer of the Year awards, achieving this feat with four wins, sharing the honour with Samuel Eto'o.

1. Samuel Eto’o (4 times)

Samuel Eto'o and Yaya Toure both share the distinction of receiving four awards each. Nevertheless, Eto'o surpasses his former Barcelona teammate in this regard, having secured two runner-up positions and achieved two third-place finishes.

Eto'o enjoyed a remarkable career in European football, clinching multiple league titles and Champions League victories.

He stands as the sole player to achieve the remarkable feat of winning two consecutive trebles. On the international stage, Eto'o proudly represented Cameroon in numerous World Cups and participated multiple times in the African League of Nations.

Adding to his accolades, the prolific forward earned an Olympic Gold Medal with his country in the year 2000.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)