African top scorers from 2000 to today

There are many great players that origins from Africa that have become the top scorers in some of the biggest leagues in the world. In this article we would like to talk about the ones that have made the biggest impression from 2000 up to today, so basically the last 20 years.

African top scorers in the biggest leagues

The first time after the year 2000 a player from Africa became a top scorer in the 4 big leagues (Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A) was when Samuel Eto'o became the top scorer in La Liga the season 2005/2006 playing for Barcelona. This was not the very best season for the Cameroonian in La Liga, he scored 30 goals the season season 2008/2009 but that season he only finished 2nd in the top scorer table. In 2005/2006 Eto'o scored "only" 26 goals but it was enough to beat David Villa (back then playing in Valencia).

The following year, in the season of 2006/2007 Premier League got an African top scorer when Didier Drogba, Ivory Coast became the number one top scorer with his 20 goals for Chelsea. 20 goals usually do not make you the number one top scorer but this year it did. Two goals behind Drogba were actually another African player, the South African Benni McCarthy who scored 18 goals for Blackburn that season.

Three years later, in the season of 2009/2010 it was time yet again for Drogba to be the top scorer in Premier League. This season he scored 29 goals, beating Wayne Rooney who scored 26 goals.

After Drogba's 2010 win we had to wait 7 years to get another African top scorer in the four big leagues. The season 2016/2017 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Gabon scored 31 goals for his Borussia Dortmund in Bundesliga. Just behind Aubameyang with one goal less scored was Robert Lewandowski, Bayern München.

Next African to become a top scorer was the Egyptian Mohamed Salah who scored 32 goals for his Liverpool in Premier League in the season 2017/2018, beating Harry Kane who scored 30 goals that season.

Mohamed Salah was almost just as hot goal scorer the following season as well, the Premier League season of 2018/2019. He only managed to score 22 goals this season though and he had to share the top scorer win with two other players. The funny thing is that these other two players were also both African players, Salah's teammate Sadio Mané from Senegal was one player and the second one was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who by now had moved from Bundesliga and was playing for Arsenal.

Notable is that the Italian league Serie A is the only top four league that did not have a top scorer from Africa. The fact is that in the Serie A history (starting from 1898) there have never been a top scorer that originates from Africa. Samuel Eto'o finished third in the season of 2010/2011 but was far behind the winner Antonio Di Natale (Di Natale 28 goals, Eto'o 21 goals).

African top scorers in other bigger European leagues

The bigger leagues just behind the top four big ones are usually considered to be the French (Ligue 1), the Portuguese (Primeira Liga), the Dutch (Eredivise) and the Russian league (Russian Premier League). These leagues have had some notable African top scorers since 2000 and here are some of them.

In the season 2002/2003 in Ligue 1, France the Congolese player Shabani Nonda scored 26 goals for Monaco, three goals more than the second best player, Bordeaux's Portuguese Pauleta.

The season after, 2003/2004, Portugal saw a South African player becoming the top goal scorer in their highest league, the already mentioned Benni McCarthy. McCarthy scored 20 goals this season playing for Porto.

In the season of 2008/2009 Holland got an African top scorer when the Moroccan player Mounir El Hamdaoui scored 23 goals for the club AZ Alkmaar, one goal more than a certain someone called Luis Suárez, back then playing for Ajax.

The French season of 2010/2011 the Senegalese Moussa Sow scored an impressive 25 goals for his club Lille, making him the top scorer of Ligue 1 that season.

The Russian league usually do not spoil us with players that scores a lot of goals, usually the top scorer wins with 15-18 goals scored. One season everything was different though, the season 2011/2012 when the Ivory Coast player Seydou Doumbia scored a staggering 28 goals for his team CSKA Moskva. The second-best scorer Aleksandr Kerzhakov scored 23 goals, and with that number of goals he would have been the top scorer in Russia any other season after year 2000.

Seydou Doumbia might actually be the very top goal scorer of Europe outside the top four leagues. Apart from becoming the top scorer in Russia in 2012 he also been the top scorer in Switzerland three times (for Young Boys 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 and for Basel 2016/2017) and one more time in Russia the season of 2013/2014, that year sharing the win with Artem Dzyuba playing for Rostov back then.

Another successful top scorer from the Ivory Coast making it in the semi-big leagues is Wilfried Bony. In the season of 2012/2013, he became the top scorer in Eredivise in Holland when he scored 31 goals for his club Vitesse.

Other notable African top scorers in Europe

There are several African players who have won the top scorer title in the smaller leagues in the last 20 years of course. Dame N'Doye from Senegal for example became the top scorer in Denmark two straight seasons, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012, both seasons playing for FC København (FC Copenhagen). 2010/2011 he scored 25 goals, 8 goals ahead of closest competitor.

Yet another notable player who is super-hot at the moment is Jean-Pierre Nsame from Cameroon, playing for Young Boys. In the season of 2019/2020, he won the top scorer title in the Swiss Super League scoring 32 goals, 13(!) goals ahead of second-best scorer Cédric Itten. Having a fabulous season one time can happen to any lucky player but at the moment he is in the lead as top scorer in the current season as well (2020/2021) so very possibly he is a player who will be picked up by a team in a bigger league soon.

African top scorers outside of Europe

African players making it as top scorers outside of Europe (and Africa of course) is not that common but there are a few nice exceptions.

In the season of 2000 in MLS in North America the Senegalese forward Mamadou Diallo won the top scorer title easily by scoring 28 goals for Tampa Bay Mutiny, 6 goals more than the second placed American Ante Razov.

15 years later, in the season of 2015 in MLS again, Kei Kamara from Sierra Leone scored 26 goals for his team Columbus Crew SC, four goals ahead of second-placed Italian Sebastian Giovinco.

In 2016 the Nigerian Peter Utaka scored 19 goals for Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the Japanese J1-League, making him the top scorer winner, although shared with Brazilian Leandro playing for Vissel Kobe.

And finally in the year of 2020 the African players were dominating the Asian top leagues. In Japan the Kenyan Michael Olunga scored 28 goals for Kashiwa Reysol, 10 goals more than Brazilian Everaldo, and in China (Chinese Super League) the Congolese Cédric Bakambu became the top scorer while playing for Beijing Sinobo Guoan. Bakambu only scored 14 goals but that was enough to win the top scorer title in a Corona virus shortened season.