Africa has produced some of the best players in world football, with the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Jay-Jay Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo, Mohammed Salah, Riyad Mahrez among others all hailing from the continent.
The continent has proven over the years to be a breeding ground for youngsters, with African nations excelling at international youth tournaments.
In this article, TOP SOCCER BLOG looks at the top 10 young African footballers in 2021.
1. VICTOR OSIMHEN
Victor Osimhen came into prominence at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where he emerged as the top scorer and also won the Silver ball.
He broke through at club level with Lille and earned a club-record transfer to Napoli. At €80m, he became the most expensive African footballer ever. He initially struggled to adapt to Italian football but has now fully blended in. He is in impressive form this season with Napoli, and is already cementing his place as one of Europe’s deadliest marksman. However, he will be missed at the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon.
2. ILAIX MORIBA
Moriba was one of the hottest properties in Barcelona’s La Masia academy. He left the club this summer due to contract dispute and joined RB Leipzig for €16m. The midfielder is one of the most talented youngsters in the world. He opted to represent Guinea ahead of Spain, and will be playing at the AFCON.
3. AMAD DIALLO
Diallo joined Atalanta’s youth academy in 2015 and played a vital role as the team won the Italian youth league for two consecutive seasons. He was subsequently promoted to the senior team and became the first player born after year 2002 to score in Serie A.
His performances convinced Manchester United to splash £25m on him. 19-year-old Diallo is a very quick winger that is highly technical, dynamic, and two-footed.
He is from Ivory Coast.
4. MOHAMMED KUDUS
Kudus is a 21-year-old Ghanaian attacking midfielder that plays for Ajax. The Dutch giants signed him from Nordsjaelland in 2020. He won the Eredivisie and KNVB Cup in his first season and has continued to impress.
5. ABDALLAH SIMA
Sima is a 20-year-old Senegalese striker who broke through at Czech club Slavia Prague last season when he scored 16 goals in all competitions, including 4 in the Europa League.
His displays earned him a transfer to English Premier League side Brighton and Holves Albion. Sima is currently on loan at Stoke City.
6. MOHAMMED CAMARA
21-year-old Camara plays for Austrian giants, RB Salzburg. The Malian defender was a member of the side that won the 2019 U-20 AFCON for Mali. He is considered one of the best young African defenders at the moment.
7. HANNIBAL MEJBRI
18-year-old Mejbri is one of hottest youngsters at Manchester United. The midfielder won the 2021 Reserve Player of the Year at Old Trafford. He represented France at youth level but has shifted his allegiance to Tunisia and has made his official debut for the North African nation.
Mejbri has been compared to David Beckham due to his playing style. While his former coach has said he will be the next Paul Scholes at Manchester United.
8. ODILON KOUSSOUNU
Koussounou is a 20-year-old defender from Ivory Coast. He started his professional career at Swedish side Hammarby IF. He was signed by Club Brugges and helped the club win the Belgium Pro League. He joined Bayer Leverkusen on a 5-year deal worth €23m this summer.
9. PAPE MATAR SARR
Sarr’s rise to the top of the game had been rapid. He only joined Ligue 1 side Metz in 2020, but his impressive displays earned him a move to Tottenham this summer. He was subsequently loaned back to Metz. The 19-year-old Senegalese is a ball-carrying midfielder with an incredible work ethic. He is said to be one the best young African midfielders in football at the moment.
10. KAMALDEEN SULEMANA
Sulemana is a 19-year-old Ghanaian winger. He filled the hole left by fellow Ghanaian Mohammad Kudus at Danish side, Nordsjaelland. His impressive performances earned him a €20m transfer to Rennes this summer. He was especially impressive against PSG, and is widely regarded as one of the best young African football talents right now.
- Kelvin Pius John (Tanzania)
- Zito Luvumbo (Angola)
- Eric Ayiah (Ghana)
- Lassana N’Diaye (Mali)
- Amadou Sagna (Senegal)
- Samson Tijani (Nigeria).