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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

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The track, which is the first release from Mr Eazi's new group of #emPawa30 artists, sees the Nigerian artist delivering a highly-infectious and grooving concoction over jazz-leaning afrobeats produced by Killertunes.

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Spotlight: Adekunle Adeleke Creates Digital Surrealist Paintings That Celebrate African Beauty

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Can you tell us more about your background and when you first started painting?

I am a self taught artist. I started drawing from when I was really young. I mostly used graphite pencils and paper. But about six years ago, I think it was 2014, I wanted to start getting into color. I was a university student at the time and I lived in a hostel with three other people, so I couldn't go traditional so [instead], I started making paintings digitally, first on my iPad and then on my laptop with a Wacom. I have been painting ever since.

What would you say are the central themes in your work?

I personally think my work celebrates beauty (African beauty to be precise) and occasionally absurd things. I really just want to make paintings that are beautiful.

How do you decide who or what you're going to paint?
I do not have an exact process. I do use a lot of references though. Sometimes, I had an idea of how exactly the painting would look, others I just make it up as i go along.

Can you talk about a particular moment or turning point in your life that made you want to pursue art or a creative path?

I am not sure–I did not actively pursue art in a sense. I was just doing it because it was fun and I wanted to. Then people all of a sudden wanted to put me on projects and offer to pay for my hobby. I have thankfully been able to make art and also work in a separate field—which I also enjoy–by day.

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