African strikers with most goals in a calendar year

African strikers with most goals in a calendar year
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African strikers can be found in different leagues across the globe and have made a name for themselves across the globe.

There is hardly a year that passes that African strikers are not among some of the best in the world.

Africa's stars are household name but only one has won the Ballo d'Or award – George Oppong Weah.

Top leagues like the Premier League have produced the African top scorers for many years.

So, when you talk about these hot shots, names like Weah, Samuel Eto'o, Rashidi Yekini, and Nwankwo Kanu come to mind.

Lionel Messi is credited as the player with the most goals in a calendar year, though many will argue that the award belongs to an African striker.

If Godfrey Chitalu of Zambia is not the player with the most goals in a calendar year (109) due to unverifiable records, who is the African striker with the most goals in 12 months?

Here are a few names we have come up with after verifying their stats.

African strikers with the most goals in a calendar year

Dieumerci Mbokani

African strikers mbokani
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The former TP Mazembe forward had a solid year in 2018. He helped Anderlecht win the Jupiler Pro League in 2012 and 2013.

He also won the Belgian Golden Shoe in 2012. Mbokani has scored many international goals with the Super Eagles – one of his casualties in a 2-0 friendly win in 2015.

Mbokani’s best year

Year/Team Club goals International goals Total
2012 (Anderlecht) 36 3 38

Didier Drogba

African strikers didier drogba
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Didier Drogba is a Chelsea, Ivory Coast and African legend. The former Marseille forward is an African striker who has confounded many with his tenacity.

He proved that Jose Mourinho was right in picking him to join Chelsea over Ronaldinho.

After many years with the Blues, he finally landed his hand on the UEFA Champions League in 2012. He also won the Premier League Golden Boot for the 2006–07 and 2009–10 seasons.

A few records to his name include the most appearances in the Champions League by an African player (94 matches).

He also owns the record for the most goals scored for an English team in the Champions League – 36 goals with Chelsea.

Drogba’s best year as an African striker was 2009.

Drogba’s best years

Year/Team Club goals International goals Total
2006 (Chelsea) 27 8 35
2007 (Chelsea) 22 4 26
2009 (Chelsea) 33 7 40
2010 (Chelsea) 23 4 27

Mohamed Salah

African strikers mo salah
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Mohamed Salah is a prolific goal scorer, but the Egyptian hot shot did not get into his element until he joined Liverpool.

The former Roma winger held the record for most Premier League goals in one season before Erling Haaland wiped it off the record books.

So, what is the highest number of goals Salah has scored in a calendar year?

Salah’s record number of goals in a year came in 2018 when he scored 37 times for Liverpool in all competitions and seven times for Egypt for a total of 44.

He also scored 38 goals in 2017 and 34 in 2021.

Mo Salah’s best years

Year/Team Club goals International goals Total
2018 (Liverpool) 37 7 44
2017 (Liverpool) 33 5 38
2021 (Liverpool) 32 2 34
2020 (Liverpool) 31 0 31
2022 (Liverpool) 25 4 29
2019 (Liverpool) 24 2 26

Samuel Eto'o

African strikers Samuel Eto'o Sign For Racing MurciaCameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o was prolific at Mallorca, but when he moved to FC Barcelona, he proved to Real Madrid it was a mistake to let him go.

Eto'o took La Liga by storm and finished top scorer in La Liga in the 2005–06 season. He also won the African Cup of Nations top goalscorer award in 2006 and 2008.

He had great years at Barcelona and Inter Milan, where he won the UEFA Champions League, but his best year was at Barcelona in 2008, where he scored 33 club and 11 international goals.

Eto’o's best years

Year/Team Club goals International goals Total
2008 (Barcelona) 33 11 44
2009 (Barcelona) 28 5 29
2010 (Inter Milan) 25 8 33

Asamoah Gyan

Baby Jet Takes a Bow – Ghana Legend Asamoah Gyan Announces Retirement
Credit: Iconsport

Asamoah Gyan has not had the luxury of playing for some of the top clubs in Europe, but this African striker is the highest-scoring Ghanaian player in history with 51 goals.

The former Sunderland striker had a prolific year in 2012 playing for Al Ain, scoring 33 goals and 11 for the Black Stars of Ghana.

Asamoah Gyan's best years

Year/Team Club goals International goals Total
2012 (Al Ain) 33 11 44

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Aubameyang, Chelsea player
Credit: Iconsport

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has had a topsy-turvy football career, but the Gabon forward is one of the most prolific African strikers.

Playing for less fancied Gabon has not helped his international cause.

The former Borussia Dortmund striker has played for some of the best clubs in Europe, including Arsenal, Chelsea and Barcelona.

In 2015, Aubameyang scored 46 goals in all competitions for club and country.

Aubameyang's best years

Year/Team Club goals International goals Total
2015 (Borussia Dortmund) 41 5 46
2016 (Borussia Dortmund) 32 2 34
2017 (Borussia Dortmund) 41 2 43
2018 (Arsenal) 25 1 26
2019 (Arsenal) 31 1 32
2020 (Arsenal) 19 1 20

Honourable mentions

There are a plethora of African strikers who have done great things for club and country but do not make this list.

They have been no less illustrious than the other forwards.

In a calendar year, they fall short, either for their records being unverifiable or they didn’t score as many as the other players.

  • George Weah
  • Rashidi Yekini
  • Sadio Mane
  • Roger Milla
  • Hossam Hassan
  • Kinnah Phiri
  • Godfrey Chitalu

This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.