From Bono to Enyeama: The Best African Goalkeepers of All-time

From Bono to Enyeama: The Best African Goalkeepers of All-time
Credit: Iconsport

Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, better known as Bono, proved once again why he's considered one of the best goalkeepers in Europe. The Atlas Lions international handed Jose Mourinho his first defeat in a European competition final, saving two penalties in the shootouts of the 2023 Europa League final in Budapest between Sevilla and AS Roma.

Mourinho’s Reaction After Losing his First European Final

Bono's fantastic performance in the finals handed Mourinho his first loss in a European Final. The Roma manager was visibly upset, throwing his runner-up medal to a Roma fan after the Europa League final. However, it wasn't the first time the ‘Special One' pulled off a stunt like that. He famously threw his gold medal when he won the Premier League title with Chelsea FC in 2006.

Later, Jose Mourinho grabbed more news for hurling insults at the English referee Anthony Taylor in the parking lot. The Special One was far from happy with Anthony Taylor's decisions, which he felt, cost Roma the UEFA Europa League title. In a video posted on social media, Jose Mourinho said, “It’s a disgrace.”

Those incidents took some limelight off Bono's incredible performance. The 32-year-old Moroccan goalkeeper was exceptional from start to finish, making crucial saves to help Sevilla reach the penalty shootouts of the UEFA Europa League Final. The victory marked Sevilla's Seventh Europa League title, cementing their status as one of the most successful teams in the competition's history.

The Moroccan goalkeeper proved he is the best African goalkeeper and among the best in history. Celebrating Bono's success, we remember the best African goalkeepers to have graced the beautiful game.

The Best African Goalkeepers of All-Time

Yassine Bounou – Morocco

Bono's success with Sevilla comes just months after he played a key role in Morocco's impressive run to the World Cup semifinals. His performances on both the domestic and international stage have earned him widespread praise and recognition as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. As he continues to excel at club and country level, Bono looks set to become a household name in the world of football, and he has become one of the best African goalkeepers in history. Bounou's achievements highlight his skill, consistency, and contributions to both the Moroccan national team and his club, Sevilla FC. As a talented goalkeeper, he has proven himself on both the continental and domestic stages.

Vincent Enyeama – Nigeria

Vincent Enyeama is considered one of the best African goalkeepers due to his exceptional skills, consistent performances, and numerous achievements. With a long and successful career, he earned over 100 caps for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, showcasing his resilience and consistency. Enyeama's remarkable shot-stopping ability, quick reflexes, and excellent positioning made him a formidable presence in the goal. His leadership qualities and strong communication skills allowed him to effectively organize the defense and guide his teammates. He played a vital role in Nigeria Super Eagles' success in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and consistently maintained a high level of play, demonstrating his mental strength and resilience.

Joseph-Antoine Bell – Cameroon

Joseph-Antoine Bell is widely regarded as one of the best African goalkeepers due to his outstanding contributions to the game. Known for his agility, athleticism, and remarkable reflexes, Bell displayed an exceptional ability to make acrobatic saves. He represented Cameroon in three World Cups, showcasing his consistency and skill at the highest level of international competition. Bell's performances in the 1982 and 1990 World Cups were particularly memorable, where he played a pivotal role in Cameroon's success and earned recognition as one of Africa's all-time greats.

Thomas N'Kono – Cameroon

Thomas N'Kono, a Cameroonian goalkeeper, is widely regarded as one of Africa's greatest shot-stoppers. His performances during the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain earned him global recognition and placed him among the world's elite goalkeepers. N'Kono's acrobatic saves, lightning-fast reflexes, and exceptional distribution skills made him a standout player in an era when African football was gaining prominence on the international stage.

Essam El-Hadary – Egypt

Essam El-Hadary, an Egyptian legend, stands out as one of the most successful African goalkeepers of all time. With a career spanning over two decades, El-Hadary has consistently showcased his shot-stopping prowess and leadership skills. He became a national hero when he played a vital role in Egypt's three consecutive Africa Cup of Nations triumphs in 2006, 2008, and 2010. El-Hadary's agility, reflexes, and ability to command his defense made him a formidable presence between the posts.

Bruce Grobbelaar – Zimbabwe

Bruce Grobbelaar, originally from Zimbabwe, had a memorable career playing for Liverpool in the English top-flight. Although not born in Africa, Grobbelaar represented Zimbabwe at the international level and is considered one of the best African goalkeepers. His unorthodox style, agility, and cat-like reflexes made him a fan favorite at Anfield, where he won numerous domestic and European honors, including six league titles and the European Cup.

Richard Kingson – Ghana

Ghana's Richard Kingson
Credit: Iconsport

Richard Kingson, also known as Olele Kingson, is considered one of the best Ghanaian African goalkeepers in history. He was known for his agility, shot-stopping abilities, and longevity in the game. Kingson represented Ghana in multiple Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and played a crucial role in their success. He also had a notable club career in Europe, including stints in the English Premier League. Kingson's remarkable skills, consistency, and dedication make him a highly regarded figure in Ghanaian and African football.

André Arendse – South Africa

South Africa's Andre Arendse
Credit: Iconsport

André Arendse is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in South African football history. He was known for his agility, shot-stopping ability, and leadership on the field. Arendse played a crucial role in South Africa's victory in the 1996 African Cup of Nations and had a successful club career both in South Africa and abroad. His consistent performances, communication skills, and organizational abilities made him a respected figure in the sport. Arendse's impact on South African football is considered significant, and he remains an inspiration for aspiring goalkeepers in the country.

The African continent has produced exceptional goalkeepers who have made their mark on the global stage. Badou Zaki (Morocco), Boubacar Barry (Ivory Coast), Rais M'Bolhi (Algeria), and Itumeleng Khune (South Africa) are just another outstanding talents that have emerged from Africa. These goalkeepers have not only showcased their shot-stopping abilities but also served as inspirational figures, paving the way for future generations of African goalkeeping talents to follow in their footsteps.

This article was most recently revised and updated 12 months ago

Rababe Koussaimi, a 22-year-old journalist, is deeply passionate about the world of sports. She grew up in a footballing environment, supporting both Bayern Munich and Wydad Athletic Club. She began her English journalism career by hosting a podcast for the first English radio station in Morocco. Currently, the Moroccan journalist channels her enthusiasm into writing and conducting extensive research, creating insightful and engaging content for GoalBall Live readers.