African players have provided the Premier League with some of its greatest moments. Some players have made such an impact that they have become club captains. Others have won Golden Boot awards on several occasions. Some have produced some spectacular moments in England’s top flight.
This season, the betting sites in Tanzania will have odds for some African players to become top scorers again. Ahead of the 2023/24 Premier League campaign, we look back at some of the best-ever African players to succeed in English football.
When Liverpool signed Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah in January 2014, little was expected after the striker’s ineffective spell with Chelsea between 2014 and 2017. But the Egyptian King didn’t take long to establish himself as the Red’s main man. Salah scored 32 goals in 36 Premier League matches in his first season. He won the Golden Boot for most goals scored in the 2017/18 season and has won the award two more times.
In addition, Salah has broken several club records at Liverpool. During the 2022/23 campaign, the forward became Liverpool’s all-time Premier League scorer with 137 goals. Also, he is the highest-scoring African of all time with 139 goals to date.
Ivorian striker Didier Drogba was synonymous with Chelsea’s success under Jose Mourinho. After moving to Stamford Bridge in 2004, Drogba’s goals helped the Blues win consecutive Premier League titles. In the 2005/06 season, the striker also made the most assists of the season.
In his third season at Stamford Bridge, Drogba won the Premier League Golden Boot award after striking 20 goals across the campaign. He then won the award once again in 2009/10 when he hit 29 goals during the season.
Drogba’s style of play was also revolutionary for the Premier League. His physicality, technical quality, and ability to score from all ranges made him the complete striker and his approach shaped the future of forward play in the Premier League.
Yaya Toure was one of the key signings that began Man City’s dominance in the Premier League. The all-action midfielder arrived at the Etihad in 2010 from Barcelona.
After his first season, Toure proved his potential as City won the FA Cup, ending a 35-year wait for a major trophy. Then, the box-to-box midfielder was essential in helping City win their first Premier League title in 44 years in 2011/12. During the title-winning campaign, Toure played 32 games, scored six goals, and assisted seven.
But, the midfielder’s best-ever Premier League campaign came in 2013/14. Across 35 matches, Toure struck 20 goals, assisted nine and captained City on occasion to a second Premier League title in three years. Throughout the 2013/14 season, Toure was at his absolute best, scoring a range of top-quality goals from a range of positions to put him among the top-10 highest-scoring midfielders in the Premier League.
Nigerian attacker Jay-Jay Okocha was one of the most entertaining African footballers to grace the Premier League. The tricky winger arrived in Bolton after a spell with Paris St Germain and immediately showed his talent.
In the 2002/03 season, Okocha struck seven goals. But it was his tricks, turns and control that kept fans on their feet. Over the following three seasons, Okocha dazzled the Premier League with some of the best ball deception ever seen in the top flight. In addition, the winger scored some of the best-ever goals by an African player in the league, including a 30-yard free-kick against Charlton in the 2005/05 season.