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18 African Players Who Have Won the UEFA Champions League

Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah and Senegalese forward Saido Mane have been instrumental in Liverpool’s bid for European glory this season.

The two have contributed a joint 19 goals and 6 assists and will this weekend be hoping to join the list of African legends that have won the Champions League trophy over the years.

As we gear up for this Saturday’s final, we go down memory lane to look at the other African legends who have won Europe’s most prestigious trophy.

Bruce Grobbelaar. (Liverpool 1983/84)

The Zimbabwean International was the first player from an independent African country to win a European medal. The South African born goal keeper was part of the Liverpool side that beat AS Roma 4-2 on penalties in the 1983/84 final.

His gymnastic-like reflexes, unflappable confidence, and “woobly legs” distraction technic single-handily won Liverpool the elusive trophy in the final.

He went on to make 400 appearances for Liverpool making his mark as a folklore Legend at Anifield.

Rabah Mustapha Madjer. (Porto 1986/87)

Having joined Porto a season before from Qatari side Al Sadd, the Algerian international played a pivotal role as Porto beat Bayern in the 1986/87 final. He scored the equaliser in the 77th minute before fellow forward Juary netted a winner to hand the Portuguese side their first European Cup.

After his career, he started a managerial career with Port’s B side. The 59-year-old is currently Algerian national team head coach.

Abedi Pele Ayew. (Marseille 1992/93)

The former Ghanaian attacking midfielder is a living legend at Marseille and is regarded as one of the greatest African footballers of all time. His man of the match performance in the 1993 final helped the French side beat favourites AC Milan.

He delivered the left footed corner which was scored by Basile Boli, the only goal that separated the two sides.

Findi George and Nkwankwo Kanu. (Ajax 1994/95)

The two former Nigerian internationals were part of a youthful Ajax side that surprised Europe in the 1994/95 edition.

Findi George was in the starting line up while Nkwankwo Kanu replaced Clarence Seedof in the 53rd minute as Ajax edged AC Milan to close a 1-0 win.

Both players were back in the final the following year but this time, the two were on the losing side as Juventus won it on Penalties.

Samuel Kuffour (Bayern Munich 2000/01)

The Ghanaian International played the entire match as Bayern Munich beat Spanish side Valencia 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

He was also part of the 1998/99 final in Munich where Bayern lost 2-1 to English side Manchester United.

Geremi Njitap (Real Madrid 1999/2000 and 2001)

Former Cameroonian International Geremi Njitap was part of Real Madrid’s 2000 and 2002 winning teams during his three-year stint in Spain.

His versatility, engine, and never tiring work effort gave the Galactico’s the ability to deploy him in both defence and midfield. He left Madrid as an African legend and a double champions league winner.

Beni MaCarthy. (Porto 2003/04)

The South African striker was an import part of the Porto side that won the 2003/04 Champions League edition.

He might have come on a substitute in the final, but he played a crucial role in the in the knock out rounds.  He scored a brace as Porto saw off favourites Manchester United

Djimi Traore. (Liverpool 2004/05)

The current Seattle Sounders assistant head coach was part of the Liverpool team that made a historic 3-3 come-back against Milan in 2005.

The side were 3-0 down at half time but managed to pull back three goals to push the game to extra time. They went on to win 3-2 on penalties to get Liverpool their fifth champions league trophy.

Samuel Eto. (FC Barcelona 2005/06)

The Cameroonian legend, probably one of the most decorated footballers in African history was an important part of Barcelona’s 2005 Champions League winning squad.

He was on the starting line-up and scored an equaliser as Barcelona came back to beat a 10-man Arsenal team. He cancelled Sol Campbell’s opening goal before Juliano Beletti scored a late winner to see off the English side.

Yaya Toure, Samuel Eto, Seydou Keita. (FC Barcelona 2008/09)

Ivorian Yaya Toure and Samuel Eto were on the starting line up while Seydou Keita came on as a substitute as Barcelona defeated Manchester United in the final.

Eto was once again opened the scoring before Lionel Messi added a second to make Pep Guardiola the youngest champions league winner in 2008.

Yaya Toure was unrivalled in the midfield while Seydou Keita came on late in the second half to help the Spanish side to a comfortable 2-0 win.

Samuel Eto, Sulley Muntari, McDonald Malinga (FC Internationale Milano 2009/10)

Samuel Eto was once again on the winning side as a defensive FC Internationale Milano saw off favourites Bayern Munich in 2010.

Samuel Eto who got his third winners medal started the match while the famous hot tempered Sulley Muntari came on as a late substitute. Kenya’s McDonald Malinga was an unused substitute but became the first and only Kenyan to win a champions league medal.

Seydou Keita. (Barcelona. 2010/11)

Seydou Keita once again came on as a second half substitute as Barcelona beat Manchester United 3-1 in the 2011 final.

Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, John Obi, Micheal Essien. (Chelsea 2011/12)

Didier Drogba was the hero of the 2011/12 final as he scored a late equaliser to cancel out Thomas Muller’s equalizer. The goal sent the game to extra time where he slotted home the final penalty and solidified his place in Chelsea folklore.

Drogba made a mark on the tournament by scoring 44 champions league goals, to become the highest scoring African in the competition.

Ivory Coast team mate Salomon Kalou was also in the starting line up alongside Nigeria’s Mikel John Obi while Ghana’s Micheal Essien was an unused substitute.


Co-Author: Anthony Kokoi.

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