Top 5 Best African Defenders in Football in 2021 – Who are the best African defenders who stood-out around the world since the start of last season until now?
The African continent has always been blessed with top quality defenders throughout the history of football in Africa. From the era of the likes of Lucas Radebe, to Rigobert Song, and then now to Kalidou Koulibaly African football never hesitate to reproduce quality defenders.
Superstars like Cameroon and Liverpool’s Joel Matip and Ivory Coast and Tottenham’s serge Aurier have been excluded from this list as they missed most of the season due to injuries and or not being able to get enough game time.
BraggsSports takes a look at the top five African defenders in 2021 according to performance on all stages.
It should be noted that our ranking is base on available data from TV channels or the internet where we managed to watch the majority of matches of these players.
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5. William Troost-Ekong (Watford), Nigeria
Super Eagles defender Troost Ekong helped Watford gain promotion to the Premier League- the top tier of English football after a 1-0 win over Millwall in the English Championship (second tier).
Ekong who joined from Serie A side, Udinese played a pivotal role in the team’s run to sealing Premier League status, playing 32 matches and scoring once.
There is no doubt that if Watford’s defensive line had to be praised for their promotion, Troost-Ekong would be the first to be called out.
The Nigerian international defender, showed his mark in the national side to see his motherland qualify for the AFCON 2021 in style as the scored a whooping 14 goals and conceded 7 goals in 6 AFCON qualification matches.
4. Ramy Bensebaini (Borussia Monchengladbach), 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.
However, despite Borussia Monchengladbach not matching their previous high standards this 2020/2021 as they finished the year in eighth place, that did not stop Ramy Bensebaini from proving his mark once more.
Bensebaini continued his progress with a solid campaign, and also chipped in with some goals too—netting four across 25 league outings.
Bensebaini’s master class performance and goal in the 4-2 victory over Borussia Dortmund was among one of Borussia Monchengladbach’s season talking points.
His defensive master class for Algeria saw them concede just 6 times in 6 games while netting a whooping 19 goals as they qualify for AFCON 2021 in Cameroon at the top of their group
3. Edmond Tapsoba (Bayer Leverkusen), Burkina Faso
Edmond Tapsoba plays as a Centre-back for both Leverkusen and Burkina Faso.
2. Achraf Hakimi (PSG), 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 Real Madrid.
His display caught the eyes of Italian giants Inter Milan who successfully acquired his services and went on to win the 2020/21 Italian Serie A before moving to PSG this transfer window.
The 22 years old Moroccan played a pivotal role in helping Inter Milan win their first Serie A title after 10 years playing 37 games and scoring 7 times while providing 8 assist in the course.
Achraff has played a pivotal role in the first 4 qualification games of AFCON for Morocco netting once before his injury which ruled him out for the rest of the qualifiers. Upon return to the national side, Achraff again netted the only goal in a friendly that ended with a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso last month.
Hakimi, who is arguably one of the best right-backs in the world, joined PSG from Inter Milan few weeks ago transfer fee of €60 million, becoming the most expensive African defender ever.
1. Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), 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 2020/21 season having helped Napoli qualify for the Europa League and he led Senegal to back-to-back wins over Guinea Bissau in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers last month which saw them qualify for the AFCON 2021.