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The 23 Hottest Players In the World Cup According to the Ladies of OkayAfrica

Let's be honest, not everyone's watching the football—but they are watching the footballers 👀.

The 2018 World Cup is in full effect and we've been covering all angles of the competition—from the best African players on the field, to the crazy social media reactions to the Super Eagles win, to striking photos straight from Senegal's matches and, even, a curated mixtape for your African World cup.

However, we also know that not everyone's watching the World Cup for the football—but they are watching the footballers.

To have a bit of fun, the ladies of the OkayAfrica staff decided to take on the painstaking, dreadful task of searching for the hottest players out there on the pitch in Russia.

Below, they round up all of their favorite reasons to tune in to the games. Turns out Senegal has the best looking team out there, so mark those calendars accordingly.



1. Idrissa Gueye (Senegal)

"Come through melanin! Pretty poulet yassa." —Oyinkan Olojede, Marketing Associate

"Chocolate skin perfection, we can make beautiful babies." —Hanan Bashir Osman

"Imagine having bone structure this elite." —Ivie Ani, Okayplayer Music Editor

2. M'Baye Niang (Senegal)

"He scored the winning goal against Poland and I stan." —Antoinette Isama, Associate Editor

"The skin. Looking like a cool caldou." —Oyinkan

3. Hamza Mendyl (Morocco)

He's a got a well-rounded feed of handsomeness — Hanan Osman

4. Odion Jude Ighalo (Nigeria)

"Just handsome." —Winnie Kassa, Executive Assistant to the CEO/ Special Projects

"He has an endearing smile and a great hairline." —Damola Durosomo, Staff Writer

"Look like a good husband type, Sign me to halal arranged marriage." —Hanan

"He is fine. Juicy jollof." —Oyinkan

5. Alfred Gomis (Senegal)

"I spoke to them all in our love language, French: 'Tu t'appelles Google? Parce que je trouve en toi tout ce que je recherche.'" —Sinat Giwa, Director of Activations & Events

6. Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal)

"Woo that smile got me weak!" —Damola

"The melanin yumminess and smile - WOW!" —Hanan

7. Jefferson Lerma (Colombia)

"That smile! What a cutie. A beautiful bandeja paisa." —Oyinkan

8. Youssouf Sabaly (Senegal)

"Ridiculously good-looking both with and without his shirt (good news: he's often without his shirt with all the google search photos)" —Hanan

Bonjourrrrrr!!! Mon ami, Je t'aime! — Sinat

Great skin, nice teeth. Yum. —Damola

9. Nabil Dirar (Morocco)


"I can get lost in his gaze, such dreamy eyes!" —Winnie

10. Davinson Sanchez (Colombia)

"Leak the skincare routine." —Ivie

11. Raheem Sterling (England)

"Fine ass fish and chips." —Oyinkan

12. Blaise Matuidi (France)


"This vet midfielder looks like a wholeeee snack." —Antoinette

13. Martin Olsson (Sweden)


"His aesthetic is very boy-next-door, hood-edition. Craig David mixed with Justin Combs. It's a yes from me." —Ivie


14. Keita Balde


"Cooler than any of us ever will be, looks ridiculously good wearing a jersey. Senegal is the winner of the world cup HOTTEST GUY according to Hanan Bashir Osman. Let's all home and cool off!" —Hanan

"So far Senegal is winning here. Love it. Tantalizing thieboudienne." —Oyinkan

15. Thomas Lemar (France)

Love his bountiful baguettes. —Oyinkan

16. Moussa Sow (Senegal)

Friendly and inviting smile... makes me feel warm and comfortable! —Winnie

Voulez vous coucher avec moi, ce soir? —Sinat

17. William Ekong (Nigeria)

I love the green streak in his hair. Just come correct with the dowry and we'll be well on our way. —Antoinette

18. Alex Iwobi (Nigeria)

The hair is a look. He has seems like he has a nice, energetic spirit. —Damola

19. Kendall Watson (Costa Rica)

He changes his hairstyle more than Diddy changes his name. Long live sports glamour. —Ivie

20. Achraf Hakimi (Morocco)

Cute smile. My spicy shakshuka.—Oyinkan

21. Benjamin Mendy

Allô, Je pense à toi. —Sinat

22. Younes Belhanda (Morocco)

Just a straight-up cutie. —Damola

23. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (England)

The love of my life. —Oyinkan

Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



How CKay's 'Love Nwantiti' Became the World's Song

Nigerian singer and producer CKay talks to OkayAfrica about the rise of his international chart-topping single "Love Nwantiti," his genre-defying sound and the reasons behind this era of afrobeats dominance.

What a year CKay is having. "Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah)," a track recorded two years ago, is — without a doubt — one of the biggest songs in the world right now. It's hard keeping up with its phenomenal and unprecedented chart success, but we'll try: it's the number one song on YouTube's Global Chart, getting an all-time Nigerian record of 73.7million views in a week. It's also the most Shazamed song in the world, number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100. and number 3 on the UK singles chart, ahead of Drake and Billie Ellish. Plus, a continental record of 25 million monthly followers on Spotify confirms this: the 26-year-old artist born Chukwuka Ekweani is having an incredible moment.

It's fairly easy to get caught up in the numbers, but CKay maintains a grace of humility. "I just express myself," CKay mentions to OkayAfrica. "It's not like I'm calculating anything. I'm literally just vibing, telling my story and giving my energy to the world."

When we last spoke to CKay earlier this year, the Lagos-based musician had just released Boyfriend, a lush project detailing the eccentric moods of a youthful relationship. It was also his first project as a signee of Warner Music South Africa. On a recent Friday afternoon, CKay and I connect again on Zoom. He dons a fly basketball jersey, its blue and orange stripes complemented by his pink dreadlocks. His calm demeanor inspires an easy way of speaking as he ponders his song's success.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Global Citizen x OkayAfrica: The Impact of Conflict on Children

An estimated 1.4 million children have been hit by schools closing in the Tigray region of Ethiopia amid conflict and crisis. Here's how that's impacting Ethiopia's children.

In times of conflict and war, school-aged children could have their futures defined by whether or not they can access education amid ongoing violence.

Ethiopia's northern region of Tigray is in the midst of a war that has impacted millions of lives and affected neighboring regions, Amhara and Afar. The war — which has forced citizens to flee, has tipped the region into famine, and has barricaded humanitarian aid from reaching the most vulnerable — has now been going on for about 11 months.

As the beginning of the school season draws nearer, safely reopening schools, making education accessible, and protecting children from the impacts of violence in the affected regions is a priority for aid agencies.

"As schools prepare to reopen in early October in most parts of the country, in Tigray and the bordering regions of Afar and Amhara, where the conflict has expanded, education remains at a standstill," Director of Education Cannot Wait, Yasmine Sherif, told Global Citizen.

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How Beauty Boy, Enioluwa Adeoluwa, Is Shattering the Expectations of Masculinity In Nigeria

Affectionately known as Lipgloss Boy, Enioluwa has become one of the most popular influencers in Nigeria — and he's done so without conforming to the notions of masculinity or imposed limitations on what a man should be able to do.