10 African players who dominated the Premier League

Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa compiles the best African players who have dominated the league since it started.

Forget the talk of Africa playing second fiddle to everything good football. It is time to celebrate the players who have bought the African continent some prestige and eminence!

Yaya Touré (Manchester City)


Following a failed attempt at securing a work permit to play for Arsenal in 2003, Yaya finally arrived at ‘Middle Eastlands’ in 2010. The younger sibling to Liverpool’s Kolo, the faultless midfielder has won two Premier Leagues and the African Footballer of the Year award on four consecutive occasions from 2011 to 2014.

Didier Drogba (Chelsea)

Arguably the most influential player in Chelsea’s history, the talismanic Ivory Coast striker joined the west London club in 2004 helping them win consecutive Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006. He has also won the Premier League Golden Boot on two separate occasions and slotted away the decisive penalty which led to the Blues’ Champions League triumph in 2012.

Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur)


The footballing equivalent of quinoa, Adebayor is a figure who divides opinion amongst those with a palette for players. With a colossal 24 Premier League goals for Arsenal in the 2007-2008 season, Adebayor reaffirmed Arsène Wenger’s faith in his previously raw and maligned talent. Subsequent spells in Manchester and Tottenham have failed to reignite the striking spark of the Togolese player.

Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton Wanderers)

Well-known for his natural flair and penchant for set-pieces, the cultured Nigerian midfielder arrived in the north-west after the 2002 World Cup. He had an immediate impact saving Bolton from relegation and winning the inaugural BBC African Footballer of the Year in his debut season on English soil.

Tony Yeboah (Leeds United)

Tony Yeboah was fond of the crossbar well before Sky’s Soccer AM challenges. The Ghanaian striker arrived in South Yorkshire in January 1995 and quickly gained a reputation for scoring stupendous goals in the mid 90s. He was also the first foreign footballer to win the club’s player of the year award.


Mustapha Hadji (Coventry City and Aston Villa)

With the most recognisable goatee in football (sorry, Robert Pires), the Moroccan attacking midfielder made his start playing pit stop in the West Midlands at Coventry following an impressive display at World Cup ’98. He’s a cosmopolitan cult hero who scored in a famous 3-2 win over Arsenal on Boxing Day 1999 and many are still incredulous as to how the humble man ended up at Highfield Road to this day.

Nwankwo Kanu (Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth)

Tall with a telepathic technique, the Nigerian striker’s humble enthusiasm along with trademark gun-finger celebration resonated with ‘Gooners’ from the off. His second-half hat-trick in a 3-2 away victory against London rivals Chelsea in the 99/00 season is the stuff of Arsenal folklore.


Kolo Touré (Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool)

The sixth of nine siblings, the Ivorian arrived at Highbury in 2002 as a versatile player but eventually became a centre-half. This led to a stellar defensive partnership with Sol Campbell. Known as the ‘Maddog’, Kolo was part of the 2004 Invincibles side that won the Premier League title going through an entire season unbeaten.

George Weah (Chelsea and Manchester City)

OK, perhaps he didn’t ‘dominate’ the Premier League but he was still pretty good. In fact, I think the Liberian player turned politician is one of the greatest footballers of all time. Wenger brought him to Europe to play for Monaco in 1988. ’King George’ blossomed further at Paris Saint Germain and AC Milan before heading to England. In his first season on loan at Chelsea, he was key to their FA Cup triumph in 2000 but endured a brief and unsuccessful stint at Manchester City the following season.

Micheal Essien (Chelsea FC)


The Ghanaian midfielder maestro won two premier league titles with the Blues scoring 17 league goals including that screamer against Arsenal in the 2006/2007 season.  He was the BBC African footballer of 2006 and subsequently won 2007 player of the year at Chelsea.

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