Great African players have made significant contributions to the sport of football on both a national and international level.
Despite their outstanding achievements abroad, several of these great African players never had the privilege of lifting the prized African Nations Cup. This article looks at outstanding African footballers who never won the African Cup of Nations.
Many of them have earned a name for themselves and the continent as a whole by winning trophies such as the UEFA Champions League, the Europa Cup, and league crowns in various European top-flight leagues, among others.
In no particular order, here are some of Africa’s greatest footballers who have never won an AFCON:
A Champions League winner with Bayern Munich, where Kuffour also bagged a swathe of Bundesliga titles, the centre-back never won the Nations Cup with Ghana.
While he was part of the squad that represented the Black Stars at the 2006 World Cup – their first appearance on the world stage – Kuffour’s career was winding down by the time the West Africans embarked on their consecutive run of Afcon semi-final appearances.
Had injuries not so undermined the latter stages of the Bison’s career, perhaps he could have helped the Black Stars over the line at the Nations Cup and transform one of their near misses to a title success.
While he did represent Ghana at two World Cups—in 2006 and 2014—injuries cost him the chance to feature in their quarter-final run in 2010.
Despite a remarkable honours haul, including the Champions League, the Uefa Cup, the Premier League, and an Olympic gold, Kanu never won the Afcon.
He represented the Super Eagles at three World Cups, but his failure to conquer the continent with Nigeria remains a black mark on his record. The striker nonetheless went close to the crown, reaching the semi-final on five occasions.
The only African player to win the Ballon d’Or (to date), but Weah’s honours haul—both at club and international level—didn’t match his supreme talent.
The Liberia president helped the Lone Stars to reach the Nations Cup on two attempts, but it was always going to be beyond him to drag them to the continental title.
The Chelsea legend won a hatful of honours at Stamford Bridge, and also reached three World Cups with the Ivory Coast, including their first qualification in 2006.
However, despite being the Afcon’s top scorer in 2012, he never got his hands on the biggest prize, having retired before the Elephants’ triumphant success in Equatorial Guinea in 2015.