Top Eleven African-Origin Players Shining in Euro 2024

Euro 2024 African Players: The Ultimate Guide | GSB

Euro 2024 is an amazing display of talent with African ancestry. These players are not only important to their national teams but also bring in the diverse skills and backgrounds that reflect the diversity of football nowadays.

Goalkeeping Greats:

  • Brice Samba: The French Goalkeeper from Congo: Called up to the French national team by Didier Deschamps in March 2023, Brice Samba is a goalkeeper for RC Lens. Born to Congolese parents, Samba is now France’s second-choice stopper and will take part in his first international competition.

Defensive Dominators:

  • Antonio Rüdiger: Germany’s Rock from Sierra Leone: Born in Germany to a mother from Sierra Leone and a father from Germany, Antonio Rüdiger is one of the world’s best central defenders. He has 68 international caps and two Champions League titles, while being an influential player for both Real Madrid and the German national team.
  • Nathan Aké: The Dutch Ivory Defender: Nathan Aké, who had been pursued by the Ivory Coast Soccer Federation but chose the Netherlands instead, even though his father was born there, The Manchester City defender is playing an important role for the Dutch side during the Euro 2024 campaign.
  • Manuel Akanji: The Swiss-Nigerian Wall: Born to a Swiss mother and Nigerian father, Manuel Akanji plays for Manchester City. His defensive qualities helped City achieve an unprecedented treble in 2023. He remains one of Switzerland’s mainstays at the back.
  • Jules Koundé: French Talent with Beninese Roots: Jules Koundé, hailing from the Girondins de Bordeaux academy, now plays for Barcelona and has been part of France since 2021. His origins are in Benin, and his third appearance is now on the horizon as he gears up with France.

Midfield Maestros:

  • N’Golo Kanté: Mali’s France Engine: His incredible stamina and ball-winning abilities have earned N’Golo Kanté a place as a key figure during France’s victory at the World Cup. Having joined Al-Ittihad in 2023, the Mali-born midfielder returned to the French squad for Euro 2024.
  • Denis Zakaria: Swiss Midfield Maestro: Denis Zakaria chose to represent Switzerland, having been born of South Sudanese and Congolese parents in Switzerland. Zakaria is currently playing for AS Monaco and has had a significant role with the national team at various international competitions.

Attacking All-Stars:

  • Leroy Sané: Germany’s Senegalese Star: Leroy Sané, the son of Souleymane Sané, who captained Senegal in the past; his mother was an Olympic medalist from Germany, declared loyalty to Germany as far back as 2015. This time, he hopes that he will take his Bayern Munich side to Euro glory after being absent from national duty for a long while.
  • Bukayo Saka: England’s Nigerian Gem: Bukayo Saka, who was born in England with Nigerian parents, plays for Arsenal and has won consecutive England Player of the Year awards in both 2022 and 2023. Despite Nigeria’s interest, he decided to join the Three Lions for his second European Championship.
  • Romelu Lukaku: Belgium’s Congolese Powerhouse: At just 16 years old, Romelu Lukaku began his professional career when Anderlecht signed him. Having been born of Congolese parents in Belgium, Lukaku is key as Belgium searches for their first ever European Championship title.
  • Kylian Mbappé: French Prodigy from Cameroon and Algeria: Kylian Mbappe, whose origins can be traced back to both Cameroon and Algeria, began representing France when he turned eighteen years old. His illustrious career, which has seen him break several records and win many titles, makes him the man France needs to help them win their third European title.

A Celebration of Unity:

It illustrates the  and inclusive nature of football that the Euro 2024 is graced by these Afro-heritage players. All their efforts during the tournament are not just for enrichment but also to celebrate different origins, which makes football interesting.