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Best African XI Right Now (February 2024)

Victor Osimhen
© Ace Football

Let’s take a look at the best African footballers currently active around the world.

Africa has been a breeding ground for some of the most illustrious talents in football history. Africa’s football heritage, from past icons to current emerging stars, is a testament to its vibrant and diverse talent pool.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the best African players for each position on the field.

Goalkeeper: Yassine Bounou

Spanish football enthusiasts were familiar with Bono as a consistently reliable goalkeeper in La Liga, but his acclaim soared during the 2022 World Cup. The Moroccan international played a pivotal role in the Atlas Lions’ remarkable run to the World Cup semifinals. Despite strong interest from Bayern Munich, Bono opted for a move to Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal in the summer transfer window. The former Sevilla goalkeeper has made an impressive start at his new club, registering seven clean sheets in his initial 11 appearances.

Right Back: Achraf Hakimi

Hakimi stands as a valuable asset for Paris Saint-Germain, delivering a dynamic presence as a rapid right-back with an unrivalled goal contribution among defenders in Europe. The Morocco international has seamlessly maintained his influential role in PSG’s lineup, a trend that has persisted since the arrival of manager Luis Enrique in the summer. Demonstrating a remarkable blend of defensive prowess and attacking flair, Hakimi consistently adds goals and assists to PSG’s tally in Ligue 1, solidifying his place as one of the best African defenders.

Centre Back: Kalidou Koulibaly

Following his triumph in Serie A with Napoli last season, Koulibaly found himself at the centre of attention from several top European clubs, hinting at a potential summer transfer. Despite the allure of these prestigious offers, Al Hilal succeeded in persuading the Senegal captain to join their ranks, securing his signature in a series of high-profile summer acquisitions. Since his arrival, Koulibaly has seamlessly assumed the role of the defensive linchpin for Al Hilal, contributing significantly to their commanding position at the summit of the Saudi Pro League table. His presence has not only fortified the team’s defensive capabilities but has also underscored his influence as a pivotal figure in Al Hilal’s pursuit of success.

Centre Back: Chancel Mbemba

At 28 years old, Chancel Mbemba has emerged as a pivotal defensive force for Marseille, showcasing his prowess after stints at Anderlecht, Newcastle, and Porto. Notably, he found his stride in the southern French club, amassing an impressive seven goals in 43 appearances. Mbemba’s outstanding contributions earned him the distinction of becoming the second Marseille player to receive the FRANCE 24-RFI award for the best African player in Ligue 1 last season. Additionally, his stellar performances secured him a spot in CAF’s official Best XI for 2023.

Left Back: Reinildo

Reinildo, a defender well-suited to thrive in Diego Simeone’s system, demonstrated his exceptional agility and work rate, earning a place in Atletico Madrid’s lineup during the 2022-23 campaign. Unfortunately, his promising season was cut short due to an ACL injury, preventing his return to the pitch in the current season. Despite this setback, Reinildo’s attributes had made a notable impact on Atletico’s defensive setup, highlighting his potential significance once he resumes active play.

Defensive Midfielder: Thomas Partey

Having weathered injury setbacks during his time in London, Thomas Partey seized the opportunity to showcase his talent on the pitch with resounding success last season. The Ghanaian midfielder played a pivotal role in Arsenal‘s unexpected title challenge in the Premier League, delivering consistently solid performances week after week. As the 2023/24 season unfolds, fans eagerly anticipate Partey’s return from injury and his potential contributions to Arsenal’s pursuit of trophies. Partey’s incredible versatility makes him a perfect pick to lead the midfield in our best African XI.

Right Midfielder: Mohamed Salah

Salah retains his status as Africa’s finest winger, leading the charge for Liverpool’s resurgence from their challenging 2022-23 season. The Egyptian international has seamlessly adapted to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics for the new campaign, sustaining his remarkable goal-scoring prowess in both the Premier League and Europa League.

Left Midfielder: Sadio Mane

Having concluded a less-than-fruitful tenure with Bayern Munich, the Senegalese football star has embarked on a promising new journey, now finding himself in the company of football luminary Cristiano Ronaldo at Al Nassr. As Al Nassr ardently pursues supremacy in the Saudi Pro League title race against formidable contenders like Al Hilal, the spotlight remains on Mane, who is anticipated to play a central role for his new team. As one of the best African forwards, Mane secures a place on the left-hand side of our star-studded XI.

Attacking Midfielder: Mohammed Kudus

At 23 years old, Mohammed Kudus possesses undeniable talent, showcasing versatility as a false nine, winger, or midfielder. A product of the Right to Dream Academy, Kudus has made a significant impact since starting his European journey, prompting West Ham to invest €43 million in acquiring his services from Ajax. Kudus has made a noteworthy beginning at his new club, earning a consistent spot in David Moyes’ starting lineup due to his consistent goal-scoring performances.

Striker: Serhou Guirassy

Guirassy has emerged as a breakout star in European football this season since joining Stuttgart from Rennes in the summer. His stellar performances in the Bundesliga have attracted interest from elite European clubs, with indications suggesting he could potentially become the next £100 million striker in the league. The anticipation surrounding his future is on the rise, marking a remarkable ascent in his footballing career.

Striker: Victor Osimhen

Osimhen remains a crucial figure in Napoli’s attacking lineup as they strive to defend their Serie A title. Despite a reportedly strained relationship with the club’s hierarchy, speculations about a potential exit next summer have not deterred the Nigerian star. He continues to impress with his prolific goal-scoring form for Napoli, maintaining focus on his on-field contributions. Osimhen’s outstanding performances were duly recognized when he was awarded the CAF Player of the Year for 2023, making him a natural choice for our best African XI.

Best Afican XI