Whenever international football comes around, we remember the talents some African countries are missing out on as a result of migration. The French football team is one of the greatest beneficiaries of this as a significant part of its squad has close links with the continent. This article consists of 10 French footballers who are African.
- Kylian Mbappe
- Paul Pogba
- Ousmane Dembele
- Corentin Tolliso
- N’golo Kante
- Samuel Umtiti
- Presnel Kimpembe
- William Saliba
- Jules Kounde
- Aurelien Tchouameni
People Also Read: 10 Incredible Black Female Black Soccer Players You Should Know
1. Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe, already one of the best players of his generation is one of the French footballers with African roots. The 2018 World Cup winner and the second teenager to ever score in a world cup final after Pele was born in Paris to a Cameroonian father and an Algerian mother.
He could have chosen to play for any African nation but looks like he was always set for France as that’s his country of birth. For a player of his talent, France is undoubtedly a great attraction.
After a successful year in 2018, he was named the French Footballer of the Year and was named to the FIFA FIFPro World XI.
2. Paul Pogba
The Juventus midfielder is also another French footballer with African ancestry. He was born in Lagny-Sur-Marne, France to Guinean parents.
At the youth level, he won a couple of awards. In 2014, he was named the Young Player of the Tournament and also won the U20 World Cup with France in 2013.
3. Ousmane Dembele
Dembele was born in Vernon, France to a French mother who is of Mauritania & Senegal descent and a Malian father. His career started and took off in France before he joined German club Borussia Dortmund and later Barcelona.
He hasn’t lived up to the expectation of many in Spain. But he’s surely a footballer that Mali would have loved to have in its books.
People Also Read: Are There Any Black Players In MLS?
4. Corentin Tolliso
The Olympique Lyon midfielder also traces his roots to Africa. Corentin Tolliso’s father Vincent Tolliso is Togolese. In 2018, the Togo coach Claude Le Roy attempted to lure him to represent the country but he declined.
Tolliso played for French youth teams before he made his debut for the senior team in 2017. He was part of France’s World Cup-winning squad in 2018.
5. N’golo Kante
Kante’s parents are both Malian hence his connection to Africa. Mali approached him to play for them at the international level ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations but he passed on the chance. At the time, he hadn’t played for the French senior team.
6. Samuel Umtiti
Samuel Umtiti was born in Cameroon but his aunt took him to France in pursuit of a better lifestyle. He joined Lyon’s academy at the age of 8. He went on and played for the club before he moved to Spanish Barcelona.
This is where he established himself as one of the best centre-backs in the world. Umtiti is a pivotal player for France’s backline and like many on this list, won the world cup in 2018.
People Also Read: Most Successful And Famous Black Golfers
7. Presnel Kimpembe
The French midfielder traces his roots to Congo. Whilst he was born in France, his father is Congolese and his mother Afro-Haitian.
8. William Saliba
Saliba’s mother is Cameroonian and that makes him one of the French footballers who have African roots.
He was born in France and came through the youth football system in the country and naturally, chose to represent the French national football team. He has played for France throughout different age categories from U16 all the way to the senior side.
9. Jules Kounde
Kounde was born to a Beninise father which means he could have chosen to represent Benin in international football. However, he was born in France and came through the youth structures there and thus his allegiance to the French national team. He made his debut on the team in 2021.
People Also Read: The Most Successful Basketball NBA Players
10. Aurelien Tchouameni
Aurelien was born in France to Cameroonian parents. He’s been through the Bordeaux youth setup and the French national team setup hence his decision to represent them.
He’s one of the young players France has in its pool and has already made his debut for the team. He now has 23 caps having made his senior debut in 2021.
From these players, It’s clear that Africans do not lack the talent to compete at the highest football levels. Though, talent is never enough. Without the support from the stakeholders, you can’t really go far. Perhaps that’s why these players feel the need to stay in France and represent them.
Is there anything African countries can do to lure players who have African descent?
Interested in watching the full article video? See below. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more original, inspiring videos on the black experiences.
Nearly 80% of consumers visit directories with reviews to find a local business. List your business for free in our exclusive Spotcovery Black-Owned Business Directory.
Spotcovery offers unique and fresh daily content on Black culture, lifestyle, and experiences. We talk about everything black, black people, black-owned and black-owned businesses. We also deliver authentic and relevant content that will inform, inspire and empower you! The future of black media is a critical piece of the black experience of today! Our primary audience includes African American, African, Afro-Caribbean and people of African heritage. Black culture is for the culture!