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African All Stars

Yobo, Enyeama, Drogba & Africa's greatest centurions

18:17 EAT 15/03/2022
Joseph Yobo
Which of Africa's all-time greats have won 100 or more caps for their national side?

  • Ahmed Hassan Egypt

    Ahmed Hassan, 184

    With an astonishing 184 appearances for the Pharaohs, the Egypt great is the most capped player in the history of the men’s game.

    He won four Afcon titles across almost two decades in the North Africans’ midfield, although his career fell between Egypt’s World Cup qualifications of 1990 and 2018.

  • Hossam Hassan Egypt 2006

    Hossam Hassan, 176

    Eight caps behind his long-term teammate, striker Hassan closed in on a double-century of appearances for the Pharaohs across a 21-year international career.

    Much of that was played alongside his brother Ibrahim, who himself registered 131 appearances for the Pharaohs, with the duo enjoying immense success together.

  • Essam El Hadary - Egypt

    Essam El-Hadary, 159

    It’s perhaps unsurprising that the third most capped African player in history is another Egyptian, with the Pharaohs tending to stick with their revered stars long into their dotage.

    El-Hadary holds the record for the oldest player to ever feature at the World Cup, having taken to the field for the North African giants in their group game against Saudi Arabia, saving a penalty at the age of 45 years and 161 days.

  • Rigobert Song Cameroon 1997

    Rigobert Song, 137

    ‘Tonton’ Rigobert's legacy within the continental game is undeniable.

    Like another great Cameroonian hero—Roger Milla—longevity and durability underpinned his success, and Song represented the Indomitable Lions in a whopping four World Cups and eight Afcon tournaments.

    The current Cameroon head coach was twice a winner, captaining the Lions to the title in 2000 and 2002.

  • Andre Ayew Ghanan Gomaa Wael Egypt Africa Cup of Nations 2010  final match

    Wael Gomaa, 114

    The final Egyptian on our list, Gomaa is one of the most celebrated African players ever, having won three Nations Cup titles and an eye-watering six Caf Champions League crowns with Al-Ahly.

    He was an ever-present during the Pharohs trio of Afcon successes between 2006 and 2010, and proved himself to be a man for the big occasion with stand-out performances in high-profile fixtures against the likes of Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o and Asamoah Gyan.

  • drogba . toure

    Drogba, Zokora, Tiene & the Toure brothers

    In terms of talent, the Ivory Coast have boasted more high-class players this century than any other African national side.

    They may not have always translated that quality to successes—they failed to reach the knockout stages of three World Cups and regularly fell short at the business end of the Nations Cup.

    However, they helped transform the Elephants’ reputation within the international football landscape.

    Zokora (123 caps) and Drogba (105) had retired before the Afcon success of 2015, while Yaya, Kolo and Tiene—all centurions—were present as the West Africans lifted the continental crown in Bata.

  • Samuel Eto'o

    Samuel Eto’o, 118

    Eto’o amassed 118 caps during his 17-year international career with Cameroon.

    He made his debut in 1997, while still with Real Madrid, and retired in 2014 after the Lions’ World Cup elimination in Brazil.

    While Eto’o enjoyed some immense successes at the start of his international career—two Afcon successes in 2000 and 2002, as well as an Olympic gold in 2000—the Central Africans failed to build on those successes in subsequent years.

    Similarly, despite a wealth of talented players, the continental giants never reached the World Cup knockouts during Eto’o’s international career.

  • Geremi Njitap

    Geremi, 118

    Making his debut one year earlier that Eto’o, Geremi ties the Barcelona superstar on 118 caps, a superb haul for the versatile midfielder.

    Like Eto’o, Geremi was a part of the squad that enjoyed such success at the turn of the century, while simultaneously picking up the Champions League and a Spanish title with Real Madrid.

    The technical utility man was present for three World Cups and seven Afcon tournaments.

  • Naybet

    Noureddine Naybet, 115

    Rounding off our list is centre-back Naybet.

    The Morocco superstar is the most capped player in his country’s history, and one of the most elegant defenders ever to emerge from the continent.

    The composed Naybet is, to date, the only Atlas Lion to have amassed over a century of appearances for the North African heavyweights.

  • Enyeama and Yobo

    Vincent Enyeama, Joseph Yobo, Ahmed Musa

    For a long time, the only two Nigeria players to break the 100-cap mark for the Super Eagles were Enyeama and Yobo, who were tied on 101 as the country’s all-time record appearance holders.

    The duo were Nations Cup winners together in 2013, even if Yobo was reduced to a largely substitute role during the latter stages—one of Stephen Keshi’s bolder moves during his time as Eagles head coach.

    Ahmed Musa has since overtaken the duo, despite some confusion about his exact number of appearances for the national side, and currently holds the record for Super Eagles appearances with 105.