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The wonderful football magazine World Soccer has their annual summer issue out and this year they deal with 'The Greatest': the best teams, goals, matches and players of all-time.

In the issue, they briefly touch on who they believe is the best African player of all-time. I've stated before that the distinction might fall to one of three men: Kanu, George Weah and Jay-Jay Okocha. Some others who undoubtedly come up are Samuel Eto'o, Roger Milla, El-Hadji Diouf and Abedi Pele. But I'm a neophyte when it comes to African soccer, so let's see what the experts have to say:

With 170 caps for Egypt, Hossam Hassan is arguably Africa's greatest player. He's certainly the greatest African never to have played outside the continent. Still playing at the age of 40, Hassan has amassed an impressive array of titles, including three African Nations Cups (1986, 1998 & 2006), the African Champions League and 11 Egyptian championships. He became the world's most capped player in 2001 when overtaking Lothar Matthaus's mark of 150, but has since seen Claudio Suarez and Mohamed Al-Deayea overtake him.

He certainly boasts amazing credentials. He currently plays for Al-Itthad Al-Iskandary, one of the biggest soccer clubs in Egypt.

So is he the greatest player ever from Africa? Is he the man people agree is the best African footballer ever?

Let's open the floor for some debate.
Who do you think is the Greatest African Player of All-Time?
 

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It's between Weah and Eto'o and the Cameroonian will probably edge it after another 3-4 good seasons. Drogba might also come close to Weah's legend if he stays in the form he showed last season. Kanu and Okocha have never been world class and Milla never did enough in Europe. Hassan is somebody who is an unknown factor outside Africa but I doubt if that many Africans outside Egypt seriously rate him above Weah or Eto'o.
 

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Andy Christ said:
Drogba might also come close to Weah's legend if he stays in the form he showed last season.
I really can't see that happening. By the end of the upcoming season Drogba will be in his thirties, and to date hasn't really come close to Weah's level.
I'm pretty sure I remember at one point in the mid-nineties Weah was named African Player of the Year, European Player of the Year, and World Player of the Year, all in the same year. The guy was amazing.
Eto'o is still in his mid-twenties, and I think is currently tied with Weah for the most African Player of the Year awards. Not that too much should be read into these awards of course, but it is one indicator of how much these players have achieved. It'll be interesting to watch Eto'o's progress in the coming years.
 

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I beg to differ Filipe. I hear that a lot. But in my honest opinion, as much of a cult figure Roger Milla was, in terms of ability he doesn't even come close to the real football gods like Weah, Abedi Pele, Hossam Hassan etc. I think his fame comes more from his role in the legendary 1990 Cameroon squad.

My choice is Weah hands down. No Eto'o or Drogba can come close imo. Maybe Eto'o in the future because of his age, but I'm not sure. George Weah is beauty impersonated. Just a shame that he's gone downhill after his career..
 

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Roger Milla

He led his country to win the african titles twice (84-88) and to qualify to the world cup 3 times (82-90-94)
He is the best african scorer in the world cup (5 goals)
He led his team to qualify to quarter-final in the world cup 90 when he was 38 years old and he was the main reason, Cameroon cannot score until he entered the field
 

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Amunti said:
With 170 caps for Egypt, Hossam Hassan is arguably Africa's greatest player. He's certainly the greatest African never to have played outside the continent.
Hossam Hassan played outside Africa, He played with Poak (Greece) and Nauchatel Xamax (Switzerland) in 90-92
 

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milla hands down

if a player from egypt to be chosen then its mahmoud ellkhatib not hossam hassan
 

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Zidane
 

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Pele? :D
 

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Back on topic i go with Weah, and nice to see Abedi Pele get a mention. :thumbsup:

I dont think any player can or will win hands down but Eto'o will be right up there if he leads Cameroon to the WC.
 

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I would say Weah for his brilliance as well as love for soccer.
There were also the likes of Steven Keshi who was one of the stars who helped Nigeria to a title in 1994 and guided them in the Nigerian golden generation.
 

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Joy of Six: African footballers -
From Black Panthers to ageless lions, we present our selection of the greatest players to come out of Africa

in Guardian Unlimited
18 January 2008


1) Eusébio (Mozambique)
It would have been a crime for this exquisite talent not to play international football - and to do so he had no choice but to play for Portugal, his native Mozambique not gaining independence until 1975, by which time Eusébio was 33. Like his fellow Mozambican Mário Coluna, Eusébio 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 Pauleta broke his record recently, Eusébio was Portugal's all-time top scorer, hitting 41 in 64 games. For Benfica he struck an astonishing 727 goals in 715 matches. (Paul Doyle)

2) Rabah Madjer (Algeria)
Best remembered in these parts for scoring the opener in Algeria's sensational win over West Germany at the 1982 World Cup, but that was just one of the 40 goals he hit in 87 appearances for his country. He was also the star of the Porto team that won the 1987 European Cup, his outrageous backheeled winner in the final against Bayern Munich typifying his irrepressible brilliance. The following season AC Milan had a £4m bid turned down for him - had it gone through Madjer would have been more expensive than Gary Lineker, Mark Hughes and Marco Van Basten. (PD)

3) Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon)
The man who would become three times African Footballer of the Year (so far) made his international debut at the age of 15 and, at 17, was the youngest player at the 1998 World Cup. Two years later he starred as Cameroon won the African Cup of Nations and Olympic gold. He then helped the Indomitable Lions retain their continental crown in 2002. But more than those displays, it was his prolific form for Mallorca that convinced Barcelona to pay €24m for him in 2004 - they won the next two titles as well as the 2006 Champions League, of which Eto'o was named player of the tournament. (PD)

4) Abedi Pelé (Ghana)
His darting runs and intelligent passing and shooting made him an integral part of the finest Marseille team in history, whom Pelé helped to four French league titles and two European Cup finals, winning it in 1993. He captained Ghana for six years and was outstanding in the 1992 African Cup of Nations until a yellow card in the semi-final ruled him out of the final - which the Black Stars then lost on penalties. (PD)

5) George Weah (Liberia)
Arsène Wenger brought Weah from Tonnere Yaoundé to Monaco in 1988 and even now says the Liberian is the purchase of whom he's most proud. After winning the French Cup with the principality he went on to become the explosive yet elegant fulcrum of the Paris Saint-Germain side that won the 1994 French league and reached three successive European semi-finals. 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 not only excelled on the pitch - leading 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. (PD)

6) Roger Milla (Cameroon)
Milla's eminence springs mainly from his deeds at international level. He was 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, where the Indomitable Lions narrowly failed to eliminate Italy. At club level he enjoyed moderate success with Saint-Etienne after a peripatetic French league career and then retired in 1989. Yet a year later came his defining moment: Milla scored 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 goalscorer. (Barney Ronay)
 
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