1) Didier Drogba – Cote d’Ivoire
The Chelsea and Cote d’Ivoire striker is regarded as one of the world’s finest striker. Drogba is fierce in front of goal and even though he cannot compare his pace to Cristiano Ronaldo or Arjen Robben’s, he can boast about his accurate shots in open play and set pieces. Didier Drogba can score from any distance and from any angle.
People will just need to remember his goals against Hull City on the first day of the 2009/10 English Premier League season. Free-kicks, penalties, headers; Drogba is good on the ball in all these three categories. He will enter the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament as England’s Golden Boot winner and as Africa’s Player of the Year titleholder. With the support of Cote d’Ivoire’s numerous talented players, Didier Drogba could embody the fighting spirit of Africa.
2) Samuel Eto’o – Cameroon
He’s broken records over records in Europe like in Africa. The former Barcelona star has won almost anything a player could dream of in club football. His historic days with the Blaugrana are gone but he has experienced something new in Inter Milan under Jose Mourinho.
Samuel Eto’o seems to have lost the goal scoring touch he had five years ago and which saw him achieve a high status at the side of Ronaldinho. Still, Eto’o is a good passer and a humble national team captain for Cameroon. The 2010 World Cup will offer him the chance to emulate the legendary Roger Milla.
3) Kadeir Kaita – Cote d’Ivoire
This is a player who proves his patriotism for Cote d’Ivoire in each game he plays. He is fast, full of tricks, and he is physically strong. He is the type of midfielder who can turn defenders into school boys with his attacking instinct. He is great on both wings and dangerous in counter attacking situations.
Goals? Kader Kaita can stun goalkeepers with his long range firing shots. The only regret he might have felt in 2010 was during the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola. He certainly thought that his 88th minute screamer against Algeria would put the Elephants through to the semifinals of the competition on a 2-1 score line. However, Cote d’Ivoire’s sloppy defense and Algeria’s resilience made the difference. The Elephants surprisingly lost 3-2 after extra-time and Kader Kaita’s wonder goal subsequently proved meaningless. Kaita will surely come back more dangerous than ever at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
4) Peter Odemwingie – Nigeria
His playing style is quite similar to Fernando Torres’ or Cristiano Ronaldo’s. He has quick feet, a flexible body which he uses to dance his way through defenders. He doesn’t have the best of goal scoring records as a winger/striker in the Nigerian national football team. But the 2008 Beijing Olympics (where Nigerian finished second behind Argentina) and the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments have certainly offered him immense experience as a captain ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
5) Andre Dede Ayew Pele – Ghana
He is arguably the most exciting midfielder in the Ghana’s Black Stars squad but his hard work is yet to be recognized by the fans back home. Rumors suggest that the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup winning captain got his place in the Ghanaian squad through bribery as he is the son of the legendary Abedi Pele.
But Andre Dede Ayew Pele prefers to talk on the pitch through his aggressiveness and his commanding play. Above all, he often comes to the rescue of his team during crucial moments. A proof: his equalizer against South Africa in the knock out stages of the 2009 FIFA U-20 tournament and his lone goal in Ghana’s do-or-die group stage match against Burkina Faso during the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. A trademark performance during the 2010 FIFA World Cup could see him enjoy international recognition.
6) Benny McCarthy – South Africa
Do you remember the guy from the 1998 African Cup of Nations who scored four goals in a space of 13 minutes against Namibia and eventually topped the tournament’s goal scoring chart with seven goals alongside Egypt’s Hossam Hassan? The name is Benny McCarthy; Bafana Bafana’s all time goal scorer.
The 32-year-old striker is arguably the most controversial football personality in South Africa. His commitment to the national team has been an issue for the past 10 years. McCarthy even retired from international football in 2002 before returning to the squad in 2004 on a irregular basis. But current coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has guaranteed him with trust. Statistically, Bafana Bafana have a feeble goal scoring record. Benny McCarthy will try to solve the hosts’ problem in front of goal.