Samuel Eto’o, Drogba and the 5 Greatest AFCON Goal Scorers As Ayew and Aboubakar Close In

Samuel Eto’o, Drogba and the 5 Greatest AFCON Goal Scorers As Ayew and Aboubakar Close In

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at January 3, 2024 at 6:01 PM
In this article:
Samuel Eto'o logo
S. Eto'o
-FCameroon logo
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
Didier Drogba logo
D. Drogba
-FIvory Coast logo
Vincent Aboubakar logo
V. Aboubakar
Besiktas JK logoFCameroon logo
André Ayew logo
A. Ayew
Le Havre AC logoFGhana logo
Ghana logo
Nigeria logo
Cameroon logo
Egypt logo
  • Samuel Eto'o remains the greatest goal scorer in the history of AFCON
  • Other notable names include Rashid Yekini, Hossam Hassan and Didier Drogba
  • But Andre Ayew and Vincent Aboubakar will fancy their chances of closing them down

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is set to kick off in Ivory Coast in less than two weeks.

With 24 qualified nations, the 34th edition of the AFCON, running from January 13 to February 11, stands as Africa's premier international competition, showcasing the continent's top talents.

Didier Drogba, Andre Ayew, Rashid Yekini, Hossam Hassan, Samuel Eto'o, AFCON, goal scorers
Samuel Eto'o remains the highest goal scorer at the AFCON with 18 goals. Photos by Adam Davy - PA Images, Neal Simpson/EMPICS, liewig christian/Corbis and Alessandro Sabattini
Source: Getty Images

Historically, names like Samuel Eto'o and Didier Drogba have headlined the tournament, notably for their goal-scoring prowess.

This tradition continues in the current competition, with players like Nigeria's Victor Osimgen and Cameroon's Vincent Aboubakar aiming to match the achievements of their predecessors.

As the 2023 AFCON approaches, Sports Brief revisits the tournament's finest goal-scorers. Players like Andre Ayew (Ghana), with 10 goals, and Aboubakar (Cameroon), with 9 goals, are closing in on these legendary records.

1. Samuel Eto'o - 18 goals

Four-time African Best Player Samuel Eto'o holds the record for the most goals scored in the competition's history, having found the back of the net 18 times.

After making his debut for the Indomitable Lions in 1996 at just the tender age of 16, he went on to win AFCON with Cameroon in 2000 and 2002.

He emerged as the top scorer twice in the 2006 and 2008 editions, when he scored five goals each, as cited by GOAL.

For context, the 42-year-old needed a total of six AFCON competitions, the last one coming in 2010, to reach the goal-scoring landmark.

2. Laurent Pokou - 14 goals

Before Didier Drogba, Ivory Coast had another legendary striker in Laurent Pokou. The latter scored an impressive 14 goals in only 13 AFCON games, averaging 1.17 goal per game.

Pokou made his AFCON bow in the 1968 edition, ending his debut campaign with six goals in five appearances.

In the next edition of the competition in 1970, the Ivorian striker scored eight goals in five games, including a five-goal haul against Ethiopia, which is yet to be broken up to date.

3. Rashid Yekini - 13 goals

While Nigeria heads to the 2023 AFCON with Victor Osimhen as its lead marksman, it's fair to acknowledge that the Super Eagles had an equally deadly, if not better, finisher in the name of Rashid Yekini.

The ex-Nigeria international of blessed memory ranks third among the greatest goalscorers of the tournament, with 13 goals in 24 appearances across four editions.

He was the top scorer in the 1992 edition with four goals, and in 1994 when he found the back of the net five times

4. Hassan El-Shazly - 12 goals

Modern-day football fans will be abreast with Egyptian forwards such as Mohamed Salah and, to some extent, Ahmed Mido, formerly of Tottenham and Middlesbrough, but a quick trip down memory lane will unearth goal-scoring machine Hassan El-Shazly.

El-Shazly first appeared at the tournament in 1963. He scored six goals to end up as the tournament's top goalscorer, leading Egypt to a third-place finish. In 1970, he scored five goals as Egypt finished third.

The striker managed just one goal in the 1974 edition before calling time on his illustrious career. He has the best goal-per-game ratio on the list (1.50).

5. Patrick Mboma - 11 goals

One of Cameroon's standout footballers, Patrick Mboma, naturally secures a place among Africa's top goal-scorers in the continent's premier tournament.

In 2000, Mboma not only clinched the African Cup of Nations but also secured an Olympic gold medal with the Indomitable Lions.

His exceptional year culminated in being honoured as the African Footballer of the Year and receiving the BBC African Footballer of the Year award.

His success continued as he led Cameroon to victory once more in the African Cup of Nations in 2002, finishing as the tournament's top scorer.

His involvement in the biennial tournament concluded in 2004, leaving a legacy of 11 goals scored across 17 games.

6. Hossam Hassan - 11 goals

A proper AFCON veteran, Hossam Hassan represented Egypt at seven separate AFCONs while fetching for himself 11 goals from 21 appearances.

Aged 40, Hassan captained the Pharaohs of Egypt during the 2006 African Cup of Nations, featuring in three matches and scoring once for the hosts.

This marked his third continental triumph and the conclusion of his appearances in this prestigious tournament.

7. Didier Drogba - 11 goals

The famed Ivorian striker, just like Hassan and Mboma mustered 11 goals for his national team in 24 appearances at the AFCON across five editions.

Drogba marked his Africa Cup of Nations debut in 2006, concluding the tournament with three goals, although Cote d'Ivoire lost in the final to Egypt in a penalty shootout, per Sportskeeda.

The striker added three more goals in 2008, but his country secured fourth place.

His participation was limited in AFCON 2010, featuring in only three matches and scoring one goal. In 2012, Drogba netted three times as Ivory Coast finished as runners-up. His final AFCON appearance in 2013 saw him score just one goal.

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Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.