African All stars in Soccer
Graphic: Kaushik Kalidindi

Here's Our Picks for the African Football All-Star XI Team

As European football clubs continue to handle the summer’s transfer business, we have assembled our All-Stars African team, featuring Napoli talisman Victor Osimhen and others.

The curtains of the 2022/23 European club football officially closed last month, with the Champions League final between eventual winners Manchester City and Inter Milan. Cameroon international Andre Onana was in goal for the Italian heavyweights, as Riyad Mahrez watched from the substitutes’ bench his team doing the job against the Italians.

It was just the highlight of what the African players have been able to achieve with their respective teams in the concluded campaign. Senegalese Sadio Mane won the Bundesliga title in his debut season in German football, while the likes of Achraf Hakimi excelled for the Morocco national team and PSG.

Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou and the Atlas Lion's Youssef En-Nesyri played a vital role in helping the La Liga outfit win the Europa League, against AS Roma, while Algeria’s Said Benrahma and Nayef Aguerd helped West Ham United win their first ever European silverware.

A new season is on the horizon, but not without us taking a dive into what made the 2022/2023 season special, focusing on the African players in the picture. We have put together our inaugural All-Stars African team, and it’s no surprise we have Victor Osimhen as the team’s frontman.

African playersGraphic: Kaushik Kalidindi

Goalkeeper: Andre Onana/Inter Milan/Cameroon

The Indomitable Lion did not have a World Cup to remember especially after falling out with his coach Rigobert Song. However, he quickly dusted himself up and went on to play 24 Serie A matches in favor of the Nerazzurri, keeping eight clean sheets as the team went on to finish third on the table.

In the Champions League, Onana has played a crucial role to see his team get past all hurdles, all the way to the final where they narrowly lost to Manchester City.

The Cameroonian kept eight clean sheets which made him the best in this year’s edition.

In the 40 matches played, across all competitions, Onana kept 19 clean sheets. What a way to end a season.

Right-back: Achraf Hakimi/PSG/Morocco

The 24-year-old right-back has consistently delivered, and the just completed season was not an exception. After an adventurous World Cup outing with Morocco, the defender had to quickly concentrate on his assignments with the Parisians.

In the Champions League, he played eight matches and assisted twice as the French Ligue 1 side reached the Round of 16.

After failing to get past Bayern Munich, the main focus was diverted to domestic top-flight football. Hakimi played 28 matches, scoring five goals in the process and assisting three times. The Moroccan had done enough to be included in the 2022/23 Ligue 1’s team of the season.

Left-back: Nayef Aguerd/West Ham United/Morocco

The second Atlas Lion to feature in our Team of the Season, thanks to his displays for the National Team and the Hammers. West Ham were inconsistent in the Premier League, and at some point, many felt David Moyes had lost it. Aguerd is one of the players who saved the London-based team from getting relegated owing to his purposeful defending and impact in attack.

The former Rennes defender played 18 Premier League matches, and scored two goals.

In the Europa Conference League, the North African played eight matches as the English team triumphed to grab a spot in next season’s Europa League Competition.

Centre-back: Kalidou Koulibaly/Chelsea/Senegal

Koulibaly had a tough debut season for the Blues owing to instability in both the technical bench and the playing unit. It explains why he was in and out of the first team as Chelsea endured their worst season in two decades to finish 12th on the Premier League table.

In that difficult campaign, the former Napoli defender featured 23 times, scoring two goals and assisting once. He also played seven Champions League matches as the Blues reached the quarter-final but were eliminated by Real Madrid.

Lest you forget, the bulky 31-year-old led Senegal to the Round of 16 in the 2022 World Cup before suffering a 3-0 defeat against England’s Three Lions. Hopefully, the 2023/24 season will be fruitful for the Teranga Lion.

Centre-back: Mohammed Salisu/Southampton/Ghana

It is logical to say Salisu’s absence in the Southampton team in the latter stages of the season contributed to their relegation. The Ghanaian’s groin injury saw him miss the crucial last 10 Premier League matches whereby the best the Saints managed were just two draws with the remaining eight games ending in defeats.

Before the unfortunate injury, Salisu had played 22 league games, and Southampton collected a total of 20 points. He was also part of the Black Stars team that played in the World Cup.

Central Midfielder: Thomas Partey/Arsenal/Ghana

The gigantic West African has justified the huge amount the North Londoners paid Atletico Madrid three seasons ago for his services. The 2022/23 season was the most productive for the Black Star; he played 33 Premier League matches for the Gunners with a return of three goals.

Literally, Partey was like glue, as he held together the team’s midfield. Whenever he was out, the team struggled to dominate. Arteta, surely, has to ensure the midfielder stays.

Central Midfielder: Zambo Anguissa/Napoli/Cameroon

The Naples-based team secured their first Scudetto in more than three decades. One of the main reasons why they shone was the industriousness of Cameroon international Anguissa. The 27-year-old played 36 Serie A matches, scoring three goals and providing five assists in the process.

In the Champions League, Napoli performed quite well, reaching the quarter-final before falling to AC Milan. In eight matches, Anguissa was directly involved in four goals; three assists and one strike. He was also part of the Indomitable Lions in the 2022 World Cup and played all the three matches.

Attacking Midfielder: Alex Iwobi/Everton/Nigeria

The versatile Super Eagle had the best displays, in an Everton shirt, in the concluded season as the Toffees escaped the axe from the Premier League by a whisker. Iwobi played all the 38 league matches for the Merseyside-based team and went on to score two goals and provide seven assists.

It means the former Arsenal attacker contributed 26% of all the goals, 34, Everton scored in the entire 2022/23 Premier League season.

Right Winger: Ademola Lookman/Atalanta/Nigeria

This is another Nigeria international who outdid himself in comparison to the previous seasons with Leicester City, Fulham, RB Leipzig and Everton.

Last season, the Super Eagle scored 13 goals in the 31 Serie A matches played and provided six assists as the Black and Blues finished fifth on the Italian top-tier table to qualify for the 2023/24 Europa League campaign.

It will be interesting to see what the 25-year-old will achieve in the forthcoming season.

Left Winger: Riyad Mahrez/Manchester City/Algeria

The Fennec Foxes captain was part of the historic Manchester City team that won a treble under coach Pep Guardiola. The 32-year-old, who has spent five seasons at the club after joining from Leicester City, scored five Premier League goals and assisted 10 times to help the Citizens topple favorites Arsenal and secure the English top-flight trophy.

In the FA Cup, the winger was on target five times in as many matches to help Manchester City’s campaign successful. Although he was benched in the final against city rivals Manchester United, Mahrez had played his part.

On Saturday, June 10, Mahrez received his maiden Champions League medal after Guardiola’s team trounced Inter Milan by a solitary goal. Despite failing to get a single minute on the pitch, Mahrez had initially played nine European matches, scoring three goals and assisting twice.

Forward: Victor Osimhen/Napoli/Nigeria

Osimhen had a record-breaking season with Napoli. He scored 26 goals to win the Golden Boot, the first for an African Player in Serie A. The goals played a crucial role in helping the team win their first league title in 33 years.

The Nigerian was also part of the team that reached the Champions League quarter final, the best they have ever reached in the annual tournament. Osimhen was rightfully included in the Serie A’s Team of the Season.


Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou of Sevilla joins this list alongside the likes of Bayern Munich winger Sadio Mane, Wilfred Zaha of Crystal Palace, Everton’s Idrissa Gueye, Taiwo Awoniyi of Nottingham Forest and Said Benrahma who helped West Ham shine in the Europa Conference League final.

Ivory Coast defender Serge Aurier was also outstanding in the Premier League with Nottingham.

Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou of Sevilla joins this list alongside the likes of Bayern Munich winger Sadio Mane, Wilfred Zaha of Crystal Palace, Everton’s Idrissa Gueye, Taiwo Awoniyi of Nottingham Forest and Said Benrahma who helped West Ham shine in the Europa Conference League final.

Ivory Coast defender Serge Aurier was also outstanding in the Premier League with Nottingham.