With the countdown to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa already underway in the office (632 days!) – we think it’s time to highlight and praise the talented footballers Africa has produced over the last few decades. Each week we see the talent of today’s young African contingent gracing the Premiership – from your Adebayor’s to your Zakora’s – but what about the sporting legacy left to them by the original African Allstars?…
Eusebio (Mozambique) – Eusebio was a star for Benfica and Portugal throughout the 1960s, winning the Golden Boot at the 1966 World Cup and scoring the two goals that gave Benfica the 1962 European Cup. Until recently, Eusebio was Portugal’s all-time top scorer, hitting 41 in 64 games. For Benfica he struck an astonishing 727 goals in 715 matches!
George Weah (Liberia) – ArsÃ¨ne Wenger brought Weah from Tonnere YaoundÃ© to Monaco in 1988 and even now says the Liberian is the purchase of whom he’s most proud. With AC Milan he won Serie A twice and was voted European and World Footballer of the Year. He could have played for France but turned down repeated requests in order to represent Liberia, where he led them to an improbable qualification for the 1996 and 2002 African Cups of Nations and within a point of the 2002 World Cup finals – but also funded the FA from his own pocket.
Roger Milla (Camerooon) – Voted African Footballer of the Year in 1976 and won the African Cup of Nations in 1984 and 1988. He was 30 when he appeared for Cameroon at Spain 1982 and went on to score four goals at Italia 90 and was one of the tournament’s great successes. He also played at USA 94, scoring against Russia at the age of 42 to break his own record as the tournament’s oldest goal scorer.