Football, Soccer in Africa: The African Footballer Of The Decade



The African Footballer Of The Nineties is... 
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The striker from Liberia has been the first and yet (standing June 1999) only African player who has been elected World Footballer of the year. He has had tremendous success at AS Monaco, Paris St.Germain, and AC Milan, where he is still playing. In Africa he is even more popular for his help for Liberian football and people. He made it possible that, when the country sunk in civil war, the Liberian national team could take part at competitions and so gave some believe to people where it was needed the most. 

2nd place goes to: 
The famous Egyptian striker has been member of the strong Egyptian squad that took part at the World Cup 1990 in Italy. Not many Europeans have been able to see him, but his style in combinating with other attackers or converting opportunities is perfect and absolutely precise. He has crowned his career with an extraordinary performance with Egypt winning the African Cup Of Nations 1998. 
3rd in that close race: 
He is one of the great pioneers of African football in Europe. The midfield player won the European Champions League/Cup Of Champions 1993 with Olympique Marseille and has been one of the first African players in responsible position in a big European club, if not the first. His later clubs have been Olympique de Lyon, Torino, and Munich 1860. As a 17-year old he had helped Ghana win the Nations Cup 1982 but his efforts to lead the team to a similar triumph as captain in the 90's were of no luck. 1992, when they reached the finals, he was suspended because of two yellow cards and had to watch his team losing on penalties. 

On the next places:
 KALUSHA BWALYA, the outstanding midfield playmaker of Zambia. He was one of the big stars of the Olympic tournament of 1988, when Zambia beat Italy 4:0, and the Zambian team seemed to be destined to become one of the big names of the 90's. Then a tragical aeroplane crash killed the complete team apart from Kalusha Bwalya who had not been on board. Still Zambia remained among the top teams of Africa, but Kalusha Bwalya did not win the African Cup Of Nations like his Ghanaian counterpart Abedi Pele. Recently he has been playing at Mexico. 
 RASHIDI YEKINI, famous to the world for his symbol-loaded celebration after his first World Cup goal for Nigeria against Bulgaria 1994. But even more important was his role in bringing Nigeria to the top where the country had been expected since long ago, but where they never had established themselves. The climax was the victory at the African Cup Of Nations 1994. For Rashidi Yekini the success of African players in European leagues came a little bit too late. Today he would surely play for one of the big names.


The Election and the Results 
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The Shot That Passed Right Through The Net is proud on this election for several reasons.
The election is more fundamental than a century election as the players have played at the same time and in contrary to century elections they have been seen by the voters. 
This vote can be seen as a real world wide fan and experts vote. The election been made over a long period so that particular events could not trigger too strong short term effects (like the African Cup Of Nations etc.). Also the election has not been promoted to sites which might trigger lop sided voting (for example Nigerian fan sites or Al Ahly fan sites or whatever). This of course let to a smaller number of voters but limited the voters to those who were really searching for information on African Football, experts and fans.
So a consistent stream of votes over the period came in and the early tendencies were confirmed.
Very encouraging seems the result: It is indeed not a 'European' vote. As Europeans dominate the world information sources and voices in soccer, it was feared that only European based players might make the race.
In the end it was close that second place Hossam Hassan had been beaten. Him, and 4th placed Kalusha Bwalya are true non-European based players of the 90s. The fifth big name Rashidi Yekini has played in Europe but without the media impact of George Weah or Abedi Pelé.
George Weahs choice anyway should seem logical. And it came without a 'homebase' of voters. Liberia fans are rare on the Internet.


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Maurice Kettani wrote:

I vote for Morocco's Noureddine Naybet, currently playing at Deportivo
La Coruna, as the best African player during the 90's. Whereas most
people tend to associate Africans with offensive talent, Naybet has
showed that Africans possess real defensive skills. Recall that he has
played for Nantes in France and benfica in Portugal and now for
Deportivo La Coruna, all top-notch teams.

Andreas Lampert wrote:

My african footballer of the nineties is Francois Omam-Biyik of Kamerun.
He headed the winning goal against Argentina in the 90 world cup opener.
His goal change my view on african football. I think it was one of the
most important goals in football history. You may disagree, but I think
that his goal was a mind opener towards the acceptance of african
football for many. He was also born on the same day as Erwin Kostedde
(21st of may), germanys first black national team player.

cheez wrote:

I for Kalusha Bwalya, he's been disregarded by most of Africa despite
he's being one of Africa's best. He deserves this honor, and considering
the opposition or should I say the other nominees it really is nice to
see Kalusha is still considered to be in that bracket of excellence.
Thank you, thats all I had to say.

Stephen M. Andoseh wrote:

Roger Milla for sure. A world treasure for long buried in the obscurity
of African football. Ironically, it is thanks to him that the rest of
the world has come to appreciate African football. Sure, he was 38 in
1990. But in 1994 he became the oldest player ever to score in a world
cup match. Milla was always the 'big time' player. He is Africa's player
of the 70's, 80's, and 90's in my book.

Ayman Ibrahim wrote:

The greatest african football player that ever lived and will never be paralleled is
Mahmoud Elkhateeb "Beebo" the eternal egyptian legend.
He won :
10 Egyptian league championships
5   Egyptian cups
1 African Nations Cup (1986)
2 African Champions Cup (1982,1987)
3 African Cup Winnes Cup (1984,1985,1986)
7 Best Egyptian Footballer
1 Best African Footballer (1983, the only Egyptian player awarded)
African Teams Championships Scorer (37 Goals)

Football, Soccer in Africa: elect the African Footballer Of The Decade