African Footballer of the Year winners: Listed from 1970 till date

African Footballer of the Year winners: Listed from 1970 till date
Credit: Icon Sport

With the 2023 African Footballer of the Year awarded to Nigeria's Victor Osimhen, let's have a look at the past winners of the prestigious Player of the Year Award in previous years.

The CAF Awards 2023 nominees for the coveted African Footballer of the Year included Achraf Hakimi, Mohamed Salah, and Victor Osimhen. Notably absent from the top three were Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez.

Mane claimed the award in 2022 finishing ahead of former Liverpool teammate Salah – a two-time winner.

A brief history of the CAF Awards 

It wasn’t until 1992 that CAF became the body giving the award to the best African footballer each year.

Before then, i.e. between 1970 and 1994, the African Footballer of the Year Golden Ball award was solely awarded by France Football magazine.

The two awards run concurrently for three years, which explains why between 1992 and 1994 my past African footballer of the year list has had more than one winner.

However, after 1994, the French Football Magazine awards was discontinued after the Ballon d'Or (European Footballer of the Year) – also awarded by the same magazine – was opened to players of non-European nationality.

In terms of the records, Samuel Eto’o (from Cameroon) was the first to be crowned on four occasions – just as he remains the all time top goalscorer in the Africa Nations Cup.

He won the CAF Award in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010 but that record has since been equalled by Ivorian Yaya Toure, who made it four wins consecutively in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

In other words, Eto'o and Touré are the players who have won the award the most times.

El Hadji Diouf and Sadio Mane from Senegal, Egypt’s Mohamed Salah and Ivorian icon Didier Drogba have all won the CAF awards twice: 2001 and 2002; 2017 and 2018; 2006 and 2009 respectively, but the first player to have been named CAF African Player of the Year on two occasions was ex-Super Eagles of Nigeria captain, Nwankwo Kanu, in 1996 and 1999.

See all the CAF player of the year multiple winners in a glance:

CAF player of the year multiple winners

Winner Awards
Samuel Eto'o 4
Yaya Toure 4
George Weah 3
Abedi Pele Ayew 3
Didier Drogba 2
Roger Milla 2
Mohammed Salah 2
Nwankwo Kanu 2
El Hadji Diouf 2
Sadio Mane 2


In all, 18 players have so far been decorated as CAF African player of the year since 1992.

Full list of African Footballer of the Year award winners

Footballer of the Year winners

Year Winner Nationality
1970 Salif Keita Mali
1971 Ibrahim Sunday Ghana
1972 Cherif Souleymane Guinea
1973 Tshimen Bwanga Zaire
1974 Paul Moukila Congo
1975 Ahmed Faras Morocco
1976 Roger Milla Cameroon
1977 Tarak Dhiab Tunisia
1978 Karim Abdoul Razak Ghana
1979 Thomas Nkono Cameroon
1980 Jean Manga Onguene Cameroon
1981 Lakhdar Belloumi Algeria
1982 Thomas Nkono Cameroon
1983 Mahmoud Al Khatib Egypt
1984 Theophile Abega Cameroon
1985 Mohamed Timoumi Morocco
1986 Badou Ezaki Morocco
1987 Rabah Madjer Algeria
1988 Kalusha Bwalya Zambia
1989 George Weah Liberia
1990 Roger Milla Cameroon
1991 Abedi Pele Ayew Ghana
1992 Abedi Pele Ayew Ghana
1993 Abedi Pele Ayew Ghana
1994 George Weah Liberia
1995 George Weah Liberia
1996 Nwankwo Kanu Nigeria
1997 Victor Ikpeba Nigeria
1998 Mustapha Hadji Morocco
1999 Nwankwo Kanu Nigeria
2000 Patrick Mboma Cameroon
2001 El Hadji Diouf Senegal
2002 El Hadji Diouf Senegal
2003 Samuel Eto'o Cameroon
2004 Samuel Eto'o Cameroon
2005 Samuel Eto'o Cameroon
2006 Didier Drogba Ivory Coast
2007 Frederic Kanoute Mali
2008 Emmanuel Adebayor Togo
2009 Didier Drogba Ivory Coast
2010 Samuel Eto'o Cameroon
2011 Yaya Toure Ivory Coast
2012 Yaya Toure Ivory Coast
2013 Yaya Toure Ivory Coast
2014 Yaya Toure Ivory Coast
2015 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Gabon
2016 Riyad Mahrez Algeria
2017 Mohammed Salah Egypt
2018 Mohammed Salah Egypt
2019 Sadio Mane Senegal
2022 Sadio Mane Senegal
2023 Victor Osimhen Nigeria


Note: The 2020 and 2021 editions were cancelled due to Covid-19. 

In 1992 Abedi Pele won the vote in both CAF and France Football polls.

And in 1993 Rashidi Yekini and Abedi Pele emerged winners in the CAF and France Football respectively.

In 1994 Emmanuel Amunike and George Weah emerged winners in the CAF and France Football respectively.

The winner of the 2023 CAF Player of the Year award was revealed in a ceremony at Palais des Congrès, Movenpick, Marrakech, Morocco on 11 December 2023.

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago

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