AFCON Glory: Ten Greatest African Stars Who Never Won The African Cup of Nations 

The AFCON 2015 came to a magical end as Yaya Toure and co helped Ivory Coast to only her second continental triumph ever, following a penalty shootout victory over the Black Stars of Ghana. 

However, where Yaya Toure, African Player of the Year 2014, has succeeded, many great African football stars have faded away without ever lifting the biggest sporting trophy on the black continent. 

Goaldig takes a look at Ten African soccer heroes who never won the Africa Cup of Nations trophy.

African Stars Who Never Won The AFCON: #10
Kalusha Bwalya

For over 2 decades, Kalusha fought, shed tears, sacrificed blood and scored goals in the green and gold colours of Zambia. Against great odds, he even led the Chipolopolo to a second place finish at the 1994 tournament in Tunisia and a second runners up two years later in South Africa. 

But Africa's sweetest left footer just couldn't drag his team over the line. The Chipolopolo finally conquered the continent in 2012 but it was only after the Maestro had hung his playing boots. 


African Stars Who Never Won The AFCON: #9 
Freddie Kanoute

When a great footballing nation like Mali which has produced such footballing heroes like Seydou Keita and Mousa Sissoko, has no record of having ever won the African Nations Cup trophy, then certainly a few legends have gone unfulfilled. 

Top on the list of those Malian heroes is former African Footballer of the Year, Kanoute. For many years the talismanic goalscorer of West Ham, Tottenham (both in England) and Sevilla in Spain, unfortunately, Kanoute's goals simply could not drive Mali to become the king of Africa. 


African Stars Who Never Won The AFCON: #8
Moustafa Hadji

You had to be special to beat the mercurial Austin Okocha to second place in the race for Africa's Best in 1998 after the Nigerian midfielder had had an incredible World Cup in France. And Mustapha Hadji was truly special. The shining light in a golden generation for Moroccan football, Hadji had everything that delights any coach in an attacking player: flair, close control, bagful of tricks and an incredible eye for goal. 

Despite the brilliance of the youthful Moroccan team he led, the Atlas Lions didn't manage to stage a successful campaign at the African Nations Cup. 


African Stars Who Never Won The AFCON: #7
Osei Kuffour

Incredibly, Ghana's rock at the heart of the defence for the best part of a decade is the only defender on this list. An ever present in the all-conquering Bayern Munich side of the late 90s and the early 2000s, Osei Kuffour is arguably the finest African defender to have played in Europe. 

Sadly, he was part of a Black Stars that lacked genuine quality going forward and they never managed to launch a solid attempt at the AFCON trophy. Long after Kuffour's playing days are over, Ghana are still looking for their first Nations Cup triumph this millenium, coming just short at the recently concluded tourney in Equitorial Guinea.


African Stars Who Never Won The AFCON: #6
El-Hadji Diouf 

No other Senegalese team has ever come close to matching the team ethics, togetherness, beauty and achievements of that Teranga Lions side whose attack was spearheaded by Diouf. One of the finest players of his time, Diouf was a key part of the Senegal side that reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup, beating the defending champions, France enroute. 

Easily the finest African side of the early 2000s, Diouf's Senegal was expected to dominate the continent for as long as they wanted. Twice they made it to the finals and twice they were out-foxed by a Cameroonian side going through the best periods in their footballing history. Diouf's dream of Cup of Nations glory was thus extinguished. 


African Stars Who Never Won The AFCON: #5
Emmanuel Adebayor

The Tottenham Hotspur striker has been the most popular Togolese for many years and by far the most illustrious footballer to have ever emerged out of the small West African country. He's laced his boots for Monaco, Arsenal, Manchester City and Real Madrid, winning several individual and team honours. 

Also internationally, his goals were key as Togo appeared at the World Cup for the first time in 2006. But an Nations Cup triumph has been a hurdle too high. 


African Stars Who Never Won The AFCON: #4
Kanu Nwankwo

Kanu just missed the final Super Eagles squad to the Cup of Nations in 1994, which Nigeria won because he was too young. But being highly talented, the gangly striker went on to forge an incredible career for himself, becoming one of the most decorated African footballer in history. 

In his colourful shelf lies a Champions League medal, EPL winners medal, English FA Cup medals, an Olympics gold medal among several others. One obvious miss, though, is the AFCON winners medal.


African Stars Who Never Won The AFCON: #3
Abedi 'Pele' Ayew

So good they nicknamed him after the Brazilian legend, Abedi was destined to help a truly talented Ghanaian team to the 1992 Cup of Nations glory in Senegal. But after picking a silly yellow card in the semi-final victory over Nigeria (where he was named Man of the Match), Abedi missed the final match against Ivory Coast and he could only watch by the sidelines as a crippled Black Stars laboured in vain in the absence of their skipper and talisman. 

Ivory Coast won on the night on penalties and Abedi Ayew would never have such a chance again on the African scene.



African Stars Who Never Won The AFCON: #2
Didier Drogba

Twice Drogba led Ivory Coast to the title winning match at the AFCON tournament, and at one forgettable moment, the Elephants were actually one penalty (ironically, Drogba's) away from becoming champions. 

Yet they failed. 

It seemed that the Ivoirians were cursed. So Drogba announced his retirement. 

Alas! The very first tournament that the Elephants will participate in post-Drogba, they emerged victors...at the African Cup of Nations! 

Despite his AFCON miss, Didier Drogba would be raised by history as one of the greatest African legends of all time. 


African Stars Who Never Won The AFCON: #1
George Weah

Still regarded by many as the finest footballer the world has seen come out of Africa, George Weah, despite his landmark successes, would be forgiven if he yet hold on to a few regrets.

One. The former World Player of the Year never appeared at a FIFA World Cup.

More importantly, though, he only featured twice at the AFCON Championship but he could not even help Liberia go beyond the group stages. 

His most magical moments that a younger African generation will watch on TV will forever remain those brilliant evenings in the European leagues.