FA Cup: Iheanacho, Drogba, and the highest-scoring Africans in the world’s oldest domestic competition

FA Cup: Iheanacho, Drogba, and the highest-scoring Africans in the world’s oldest domestic competition 1

Chelsea and Leicester face-off today in the final of the 2020/21 FA Cup, with Nigeria’s Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho looking to join the list of successful Africans to have triumphed in the competition.

Iheanacho is a frontrunner for the player of the tournament award after his four goals in three games powered the Foxes to their first cup final this century.

The 24-year-old forward is already the highest-scoring African in the FA Cup history, and it would appear a fitting ending to see him lift the trophy after a difficult period in his career.

But who else makes the chart of the top-scoring Africans in the world’s oldest domestic competition?

7. Yaya Toure; 6 goals

Yaya Toure was the Ivorian midfield powerhouse that helped bring silverware and success to Manchester City in those early days after the money-bags bought the club.

During Yaya’s six-year stay with the Citizens, he won a truckload of honours, including three Premier League titles and the FA Cup, where he notched six goals in 20 appearances.

6. Frederic Kanoute; 7 goals

They don’t make them anymore as classy and composed as Frederic Kanoute. The former Mali international remains a fans favourite at West Han and Tottenham Hotspurs.

It was not until he moved to Spanish side Sevilla before he won major honours, but each of his seven English FA Cup goals is still a delight to watch.

5. Salomon Kalou, Saido Berahino, Nwankwo Kanu: 8 goals

Three players share joint-fifth on this exalted list, with Burundi international Saido Berahino taking his spot beside Nigerian legend Nwankwo Kanu and Ivorian journeyman Salomon Kalou.

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All three netted eight FA Cup goals, even if fans would remember more of Kanu’s exploits to help Arsenal (twice) and later Portsmouth to the pinnacle of the competition.

Kalou, it must be noted, boasts four winner’s medals as well, all claimed in the blue colours of Chelsea.

4. Yakubu Aiyegbeni: 9 goals

And then there was Yakubu Aiyegbeni. Love him or hate him, the Yak remains the most prolific Nigerian striker in England, and he scored goals wherever he went.

Still the highest-scoring Nigerian in the Premier League with 97 goals, the former Everton star smashed in another nine goals in the FA Cup. And only a defeat in the 2008/09 final denied him the chance to lift the coveted trophy.

3. Francois Zoko: 11 goals

Little-known Francois Zoko is the surprise name on this list, with the former Ivorian youth international sitting pretty in third place with eleven goals.

Never once considered good enough to play in the Premier League, Zoko was a terror to defences in League One and League Two.

And the FA Cup was the favourite playground of the former Blackpool ace, a competition where he was untouchable usually in the early rounds.

2. Didier Drogba; 12 goals

For many years, Chelsea’s iconic striker Didier Drogba was the best centre-forward in England and one of the best in the world.

From the UEFA Champions League to the League Cup, the former Ivory Coast international won every trophy available in his career. And even more remarkably, he never lost an FA Cup final he competed in, winning four titles and scoring 12 times, across 29 appearances.

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Even though Nigeria’s Mikel Obi can boast of the same number of FA Cup triumphs, Drogba can be confident that he is the most successful African in the competition to date.

1. Kelechi Iheanacho; 14 goals

When Kelechi Iheanacho netted the first of his brace against Manchester United in the FA Cup quarterfinals in March, he equalled Drogba’s 12-goal haul in the competition.

Iheanacho grabbed a double in that match before scoring the winner in the semifinals versus Southampton to go two-goal clear on the FA top-scoring list for Africans.

And in the more than 120-year history of the competition, only 17 players have scored more than the Leicester City forward.

And it would be fantastic for the Super Eagles striker to score against Chelsea and lift the trophy that would help seal his legacy as one of the best to win the FA Cup.