Check out our ranking of the best African defenders as we dive deep into some of the continent’s best experienced and emerging stars.
The backbone of solid defence remains crucial for success on the football pitch. In recent seasons, a number of African defenders have risen to prominence in Europe’s top leagues while playing major roles in their respective national teams.
In this article, we’ll take a look at Africa’s best defenders, highlighting their current form.
10- Serge Aurier
Aurier revived his Premier League career with an unexpected move to Nottingham Forest last year. The Ivorian defender has left behind his tough spell at Villarreal, enjoying regular playing time at his new club. After helping Forest in their bid to stay in the Premier League last season, Aurier has continued his role as the team’s starting right-back in the current campaign.
9- Joseph Aidoo
Aidoo has developed into a cornerstone of Celta Vigo’s backline since his move from Genk in 2019. Despite dealing with a few injury setbacks, the Ghana international has made a solid start to the 2023-24 season. Despite Celta’s recent struggles, Aidoo has maintained impressive consistency with his form.
8- Ramy Bensebaini
Bensebaini ended his successful spell at Borussia Monchengladbach to open a new chapter in his career by joining Dortmund in the summer transfer window. Since then, the Algerian left-back has found his place in the Black and Yellows’ squad, competing with Julian Ryerson for a starting place in Edin Terzic’s lineup.
7- Nayef Aguerd
Aguerd had a fantastic debut campaign at West Ham last season, helping the Hammers win the UEFA Conference League. This season, the Morocco international has fully secured his place in David Moyes’ starting XI, becoming a major factor in their continued success in the Premier League and the Europa League.
Reinildo is the type of defender that can thrive in Diego Simeone’s system. The Mozambique international’s incredible agility and work rate helped him find his place in Atletico Madrid’s lineup in the 2022-23 campaign. However, an ACL injury has prevented him from returning to the pitch this season.
5- Edmond Tabsoba
Tabsoba’s quick development at Bayer Leverkusen has made him one of Bundesliga’s most-feared centre-backs. The 24-year-old has been a key player in Leverkusen’s excellent start under Xabi Alonso, starting every Bundesliga match so far this season. Using his impressive physicality, Tabsoba provides Leverkusen’s defence line with stability and a formidable presence.
4- Joel Matip
Matip has remained a reliable defender for Liverpool since moving to the club from Schalke in January 2016. The veteran defender’s incredible versatility has allowed him to play in different roles under Jurgen Klopp. Matip has mainly played as a backup for Ibrahima Konate so far this season. However, Klopp has still provided him with enough playing time in the Premier League, keeping him in good form for the second half of the campaign.
3- Noussair Mazraoui
Mazraoui’s debut spell at Bayern wasn’t easy as he struggled to get enough playing time on the right-hand side of Bayern Munich’s defence line. However, the departure of Benjamin Pavard in the summer transfer window opened up space for the Moroccan defender to showcase his qualities under Thomas Tuchel. Mazraoui has secured a starting place at Allianz Arena, registering four assists so far this season.
2- Kalidou Koulibaly
After winning the Serie A with Napoli last season, Koulibaly was linked with a number of top clubs in Europe for a potential summer move. However, Al Hilal managed to convince the Senegal captain over a transfer, adding him to their list of blockbuster summer deals. Since then, Koulibaly has become the backbone of Al Hilal’s defence line as they lead the Saudi Pro League table.
1- Achraf Hakimi
Hakimi provides Paris Saint-Germain with a quick right-back whose goal contribution is hardly matched by any other defender in Europe. The Morocco international has continued his key role in PSG’s lineup since Luis Enrique’s arrival in the summer, consistently registering goals and assists in Ligue 1.