Africa Cup of Nations Top 10 Goalscorers

Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o stands alone with 18 goals
etoo cameroon celebrate
Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o scored 18 African Cup of Nations goals over 6 appearances at the touenament (Getty Images)

The Africa Cup of Nations top 10 goalscorers list features some of the best players to emerge from the continent. From its inception in 1958, several legends of African football have graced the competition and scored goals at an impressive rate.

Samuel Eto'o is the all-time top scorer with 18 goals having played in six AFCON tournaments, leading Cameroon to victory twice. Ivory Coast legend Laurent Pokou is next on the list, scoring 14 goals across the 1968 and 1970 editions of the tournament. 

Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o, Ivory Coast's Laurent Pokou, Nigeria's Rashidi Yekini and Egypt's Hossam Hassan led their nations to glory in the African Cup of Nations. A bulk of the players on the AFCON top 10 goalscorers list are retired or no longer involved in the beautiful game. Can anyone take their place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt?

1) Samuel Eto'o, Cameroon, 18 goals 


Samuel Eto'o made his debut for Cameroon as a 16-year-old in a friendly against Costa Rica in 1997. He made six appearances at the AFCON, starting at the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations co-hosted by Ghana and Nigeria. 

He scored four goals in the competition, including the opening goal in the final against Nigeria at the National Stadium in Lagos. The match finished 2-2 after extra time with Cameroon victorious in the penalty shootout as the Cameroonians lifted the trophy for the first time since 1988. 

Eto'o was also included in his country's squad to the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations in Mali but failed to hit the heights of 2000. He scored just once in a 3-0 victory over Togo as Cameroon successfully defended their title, winning all five games on their way to the final without conceding a goal.

Senegal were the opponents at the Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako. Eto'o and Cameroon unable to score but took the match to a penalty shootout where Cameroon emerged victorious once again.

The 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia was next for Eto'o but the striker disappointed as the Cameroon failed to claim a third successive title. His only goal in North Africa came in a 2-1 quarter final defeat to Nigeria at the Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet in Monastir.

Eto'o bounced back with successive AFCON golden boot awards for tournament top scorer in 2006 and 2008. At the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt Eto'o scored five goals as Cameroon crashed out in the quarter finals.

It was an epic match against Ivory Coast at the Cairo Military Academy Stadium that ended 1-1 after extra time. The penalty shootout was one to remember with all 11 players on both teams successful with their spot kicks. Didier Drogba scored his second attempt but Eto'o was the first player to miss as Ivory Coast won the shootout 12-11.

The 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana was another success for Eto'o who top scored with five goals. He scored twice in the opening match against Egypt, once against Zambia and another two against Sudan to make it five in the group stage. 

cameroon etoo 2002
Striker Samuel Eto'o scored 18 goals for Cameroon in six appearances at the Africa Cup of Nationss (Getty Images)

Eto' failed to score in the 3-2 quarter-final win against Tunisia and 1-0 win against Ghana as Cameroon set up another match against Egypt in the final. It was a tough match at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra with Egypt defeating Cameroon 1-0.

The four-time African footballer of the year made his final AFCON appearance at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola. He scored two goals as the Cameroon were eliminated in the quarter final stage 3-1 by Egypt at the Estádio Nacional de Ombaka in Benguela.

Eto'o was one of the most feared strikers in his prime. Starting out at Real Madrid, he was loaned to Leganés, Espanyol and Mallorca being sold to Mallorca. Barcelona took notice and Eto'o moved to the Catalan giants in 2004 where he won three La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España along with two UEFA Champions League titles in 2005-06 and 2008-09.

He moved to Inter Milan in 2009 where he won Serie A, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup. An ill fated move to Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala followed in 2011 before spells at Chelsea, Everton, Sampdoria, Antalyaspor, Konyaspor and Qatar SC.

2) Laurent Pokou, Ivory Coast, 14 goals


Laurent Pokou amassed his impressive haul of 14 Africa Cup of Nations goals in just two tournaments. The legendary Ivorian striker was top scorer at the 1968 Africa Cup of Nations with six goals and repeated the feat in 1970 with eight goals.

Pokou made his first appearance at the AFCON as 21-year-old in the 1968 tournament in Ethiopia. He scored a brace in the opening match for Ivory Coast in a 3-1 win over Algeria.

Ivory Coast lost 1-0 to hosts Ethiopia in their second outing but bounced backthe 4-3 extra time semi-final defeat to Ghana at the Cicero Stadium in Asmara before scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory against Ethiopia in the third-place match.

Pokou carried his excellent goalscoring form into the 1970 Africa Cup of Nations in Sudan, scoring eight goals for the Ivorians won finished fourth. He scored two goals in the opening match as the Ivory Coast lost 3-2 to Cameroon.

Pokou's landmark moment came in the final group fixture as he netted an impressive five goals in a 6-1 victory over Ethiopia at the Municipal Stadium in Khartoum. He was also on target in a 3-2 defeat to Egypt in the third place match.

Laurent Poko  played most of his career for ASEC Abidjan and had spells with French clubs Rennes and Nancy before returning to ASEC Abidja in 1979. He finished his career at RS Anyama and amassed 70 caps for his nation.

Laurent Pokou
Ivory Coast footballer Laurent Pokou wasn't too disheartened after Samuel Eto'o broke his African Cup of Nations goalscoring record in 2008 (Getty Images)

3) Rashidi Yekini, Nigeria, 13 goals


Rashidi Yekini represented Nigeria in four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments after making his debut for the Super Eagles in 1984. His first appearance was at the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco where he scored one goal in a 3-0 defeat to Kenya during the group phase.

Yekini was part of his Nigeria's squad at the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria, scoring three goals as the Eagles claimed fell in the final. His first goal in the tournament came in a 1-0 victory over Egypt in the second group outing before repeating the feat in a 1-0 victory against Ivory Coast in their final round robin fixture.
 
He scored in a 2-0 semi-final victory against Zambia but Nigeria fell at the final hurdle. Facing host nation Algeria in the final was too much to overcome as Nigeria lost 1-0 at the Stade 5 Juillet 1962 in Algiers.

Yekini scored four goals in the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal as the Super Eagles finished third. His crowning moment would come two years later at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia where he scored five goals to lead Nigeria to the title. 

Two goals in the opening match against Gabon set the stage before netting twice in the 2-0 quarter-final win against Zaire. Yekini was on target once again and scored in the penalty shootout win against Ivory Coast in the semi-final. 

Rashidi Yekini
Nigeria's Rashidi Yekini led his nation to victory at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia (Shaun Botterill/All Sport)

He failed to score in the 2-1 final victory against Zambia at the Stade El Menzah in Tunis, but had done enough to win the golden boot and best player awards. Yekini remains Nigeria's all-time leading scorer with 37 goals in 58 appearances and was named African Footballer of the year in 1993. 

Yekini scored Nigeria's first goal in a World Cup at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States as Nigeria won 3-0 against Bulgaria. His goascoring celebration became one of the iconic images of the tournament.

Yekini made his name at Nigerian club Shooting Stars before spells at Abiola Babes and Africa Sports. He was prolific at Portuguese club Vitória Setúbal between 1990 and 1994 before plying his trade at Olympiacos, Sporting Gijón, Zürich, Bizerte, Al-Shabab, Africa Sports, Julius Berger and Gateway.


4) Hassan El Shazly, Egypt, 12 goals


Hassan El Shazly played for Egypt between 1961 and 1974 when the country was known as the United Arab Republic. He never lifted the Africa Cup of Nations trophy but won the golden boot at the 1963 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana.

El Shazly scored four goals in a 6-3 victory over Nigeria in their opening fixture in Group B. He scored one goal in a 2-2 draw against Sudan before netting the final goal in his team’s 3-0 triumph over Ethiopia in the third-place match.

The forward played in several AFCON tournaments to amass his 12 goal haul but his crowning moment was emerging top scorer in 1963. He played most if his career for Tersana in the Egyptian Premier League, helping them to their only title in 1966.

5) Patrick M'Boma, Cameroon, 11 goals


Patrick M'Boma appeared at the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 1998 in Burkina Faso. M'Boma would however have to wait till the 2000 edition hosted by Nigeria and Ghana to make his mark.

The striker emerged as one of the stars of the tournament, scoring three goals as the Central Africans lifted the trophy after defeating Nigeria at the National Stadium in Lagos. M'Boma impressed once again for Cameroon at the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations in Mali as they successfully defended their title. 

He netted the winning goals in the 1-0 victories against DR Congo and Ivory Coast in the group stage, repeating the feat in the 1-0 win against Egypt in the quarter-finals. M'Boma didn't feature in the final at the Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako as Cameroon defeated Senegal in a penalty shootout.

Patrick M'Boma
Patrick Mboma helped Cameroon win the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations in Mali as they successfully defended their title (Michael Steele/Allsport)

M'Boma had his best goalscoring outing at an AFCON tournament in his final appearance in Tunisia 2004. He netted four goals in three group stage matches as the Central Africans were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Nigeria.

M'Boma shared the top scorer award with Mali's Frédéric Kanouté, Nigeria's Jay-Jay Okocha, Tunisia's Francileudo Santos and Morocco's Youssef Mokhtari. 

Patrick M'Boma played acroos the world with stints at Châteauroux, Paris Saint-Germain, Metz, Gamba Osaka, Cagliari, Parma, Sunderland, Al-Ittihad, Tokyo Verdy and Vissel Kobe before retiring on 2005. He would make 57 appearances for Cameroon scoring 33 goals.

6) Didier Drogba, Ivory Coast, 11 goals 


Didier Drogba made five appearances at the Africa Cup of Nations between 2006 and 2013, scoring 11 goals. He is widely considered as one of the legends of African football but never lifted the AFCON trophy, reaching the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 and 2012 but beaten on penalties on both occasions. 

Drogba's first appearance in the tournament came at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. He scored three goals to lead Ivory Coast to the final against hosts Egypt at Cairo International Stadium. Ivory Coast were beaten on penalties with the striker missing his spot kick in the shootout.

The former Chelsea striker scored three goals at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana. The Ivorians fell at the semi final stage after a 4-1 defeat againt Egypt before losing 4-2 against Ghana in the third place match at Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.

A disappointing outing at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola saw Drogba score just once as the Elephants lost in the quarter-finals. He was back to his best on at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon & Equatorial Guinea however, scoring three goals to lead the West Africans to the final.

drogba ivory coast celebrate
Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba will go down in history as one of the best players to feature for the African nation (Getty Images)

The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Final was a match to forget for Drogba and his teammates, failing to score against Zambia at the Stade d'Angondjé in Libreville as the match went to a penalty shootout. Zambia emerged victorious 8-7 in the shootout with the Ivory Coast shattered.

Drogba's last goal in the AFCON came in a 2-2 draw against Algeria in their final group fixture in South Africa 2013. Ivory Coast reached the quarter-finals where they were defeated 2-1 by Nigeria at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.

Didier Drogba is the all-time top scorer for the Ivory Coast national team having scored 65 goals in 104 appearances. He led the Ivory Coast to their first FIFA World Cup in 2006, scoring their first goal in a 2-1 defeat against Argentina in Hamburg. Drogba also captained the Ivory Coast at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.

He started his club career in France with Le Mans, Guingamp and Marseille before a big money move to Premier League club Chelsea FC whom he play for from 2004-2012. He was incredibly prolific for the Blues, scoring over 100 goals to lead them to three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two Football League Cups, one FA Community Shield and the UEFA Champions League title in 2011–12 where he scored a late equaliser against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in Munich before scoring the winning penalty in the shootout. 

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Didier Drogba was infuential in Chelsea FC's UEFA Champions League win against Bayern Munich on May 19, 2012 (GettyImages)

Drogba moved to Shanghai Shenhua and Galatasaray before a short spell back at Chelsea where he won another Premier League and League Cup title. He finished his career in the United States with Montreal Impact and Phoenix Rising.

Didier Drogba retired from professional football at the age of 40, later becoming Vice President of the international organization Peace and Sport. In 2009 Drogba's charity work continued with the 'Didier Drogba Foundation' donating his £3 million Pepsi endorsement fee towards the construction of a hospital in his hometown of Abidjan.

Drogba helped in returning peace to the Ivory Coast with Time magazine naming him one of the world's 100 most influential people in 2010. He has previously been a Goodwill Ambassador with the United Nations Development Programme and joined the Truth, Reconciliation and Dialogue Commission as a representative in September 2011.

7) Hossam Hassan, Egypt, 11 goals


Hossam Hassan has 11 goals in the Africa Cup of Nations, all of which came across three tournaments. He made his first appearance as a 19-year-old in the 1986 winning team and then won the title again in 1998 and 2006.

Hassan was in superb form at the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations in Burkina Faso as his seven goals fired Egypt to their first title since 1986. He was joint top scorer in the tournament and shared the golden boot with Benni McCarthy of South Africa.

The striker scored three goals at the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana & Nigeria as the Egyptians crashed out in the quarter-finals. He missed the tournament in 2004 but returned to captain the team to glory on home soil in 2006, scoring his final AFCON goal in a 4-1 quarter-final victory over DR Congo.

Hassan is Egypt's all-time top scorer with 69 goals in 169 appearances and regarded as one of the best players in African football history. He was a prolific goalscorer for clubs Al Ahly, PAOK, Neuchâtel Xamax, Al Ain, Zamalek, Al-Masry, Tersana and El-Ittihad Alexandria.

Hassan won 14 Egyptian League titles, five Egyptian Cups and the CAF Champions League in 2002. His three Africa Cup of Nations titles with Egypt makes him one of the most successful players in the history of the tournament. 

Hossam Hassan became a manager in 2008 and has taken charge at Al-Masry, Telecom Egypt, Zamalek, Ismaily, Al-Masry, Misr El-Makasa, Jordan, Al-Ittihad Alexandria, Pyramids and Smouha SC.

Hossam Hassan
Egyptian forward Hossam Hassan lifted his third African Cup of Nations title in 2006 at 40 years of age after defeating Ivory Coast 4-2 in penalties in Cairo on 10 February 2006 (Getty Images)

8) Kalusha Bwalya, Zambia, 10 goals


Kalusha Bwalya made six appearances at the Africa Cup of Nations, the first of which came in the 1986 edition in Egypt. He never won the title but led the Zambians to a second-place finish in Tunisia in 1994.

Bwalya'a crowning moment in AFCON tournaments came at the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa where he scored five goals to win the golden boot. He only mustered one goal in each of his remaining five appearances in the competition.

Bwalya played for Belgian club Cercle Brugge, PSV Eindhoven in Holland and also played for Mexican side Club América. He is widely considered one of the finest players to come out of the continent and was named African Footballer of the year in 1988. 

Since retirement, Bwalya has gone into administration, serving as vice president and then president of the Zambian Football Association.

Kalusha Bwalya
Zambian forward Kalusha Bwalya scored 39 goals in 87 appearances for his nation (Getty Images)

9) Manucho, Angola, 9 goals 


Mateus Alberto Contreiras Gonçalves or simply 'Manucho' appeared at three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments between 2008 and 2012. He scored four goals at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt to lead the Angolans to the quarter-finals where they lost to the hosts and eventual winners.

The striker returned at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations on home soil, scoring two goals as the hosts once again fell at the quarter-final stage. He then scored three goals in his final appearance at the 2012 AFCON in Gabon & Equatorial Guinea.

Manucho was signed by Manchester United in 2008 but only made one appearance before being loaned to Greek side Panathanaikos and Hull City. He featured for several clubs across Europe, mainly Real Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano either side of loan spells in Turkey with Bucaspor and Manisaspor. 

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Manucho's Manchester United career was over before it begun (Getty Images)

10) Asamoah Gyan, Ghana, 8 goals


Asamoah Gyan made his debut for Ghana at the age of 17, scoring a 90th minute goal in a friendly against Somalia. He made his first appearance at the AFCON in Egypt in 2008 and has featured for Ghana in every tournament since. 

Gyan scored just one goal in Egypt, netting the opener on a 2-1 victory over Guinea in the first match of the competition. He was impressive two years later at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, scoring three goals as Ghana reached the final where they lost 1-0 against Egypt at the Estádio 11 de Novembro in Luanda.

The striker scored one goal in each of the following four appearances at the AFCON between 2012 and 2017. He has played at three FIFA World Cups and represented Ghana at the 2004 Olympics.

Gyan is the only player on the top 10 list still active for the national team. He plays for Kayserispor in Turkey and will captain Ghana to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Asamoah Gyan ghana
Ghana's Asamoah Gyan will be aiming to add to his 9 goals at the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt (Getty Images)

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