Wednesday Dec 23, 2020. 15:00
The African continent has always been blessed with top quality defenders throughout the history of football. AfricanFootball.com takes a look at the top five African defenders in 2020.
5. Serge Aurier – Ivory Coast
The Ivory Coast captain reportedly wanted to leave Tottenham Hotspur prior to the start of the 2019/20 season, but he stayed put at the London giants and became the club’s first-choice – scoring once and providing five assists in the Premier League in 33 matches, making him one of the top right-backs in the competition.
Known for his stamina, athleticism and lung power to charge up and down the field, Aurier has improved his game under Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho and he is one of the key defenders for Spurs as they look to mount a serious challenge for this season’s Premier League and UEFA Europa League titles.
4. Ramy Bensebaini – Algeria
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) winner with Algeria established himself as one of the top defenders in European football during the 2019/20 season as he flourished in the German Bundesliga and UEFA Europa League for Borussia Monchengdlabach – scoring five goals and registering three assists.
Bensebaini, who can play as a left-back and centre back, stayed put at Monchengdlabach despite being linked with English giants Arsenal and he has been influential for his club this term as they challenge for the Bundesliga title, and he also helped the team reach the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.
3. Joel Matip – Cameroon
The former Cameroon international has had his fair share of injuries in the last few seasons, but he caught the eye with some solid displays whenever he turned out for Liverpool FC during the 2019/20 season which saw him score in the FA Community Shield against Manchester City.
The tall centre back, who relishes a physical tussle, went on to help the English giants clinch the UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and Premier League title, scoring a memorable goal against Arsenal, and he is now one of their key central defenders as the Reds look to defend the league trophy.
2. Achraf Hakimi – Morocco
The Morocco international was one of the top performers in the German Bundesliga during the 2019/20 season – impressively scoring five goals and providing 10 assists while on loan at Borussia Dortmund from Spanish giants Madrid – and he attracted interest from Italian giants Inter Milan.
Hakimi, who is arguably one of the best right-backs in the world, joined Inter from Madrid for a permanent transfer fee of €40 million and he has been in great form for the Nerazzurri this term as they push for the Serie A title, having netted four goals in 13 league matches thus far.
1. Kalidou Koulibaly – Senegal
The new Senegal captain remains one of the best defenders in the world having played an integral role in helping his Italian giants SSC Napoli clinch the 2019/20 Coppa Italia as the club’s deputy captain and he was also instrumental for the Little Donkeys as they reached the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.
A large, aggressive, quick and physically strong yet elegant player, Koulibaly has managed to maintain his great form this season having helped Napoli advance to the UEFA Nations League Round of 32 and he led Senegal to back-to-back wins over Guinea Bissau in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers last month.