The AFCON tournament, which has just finished, gave us the opportunity to experience the best players Africa have battle for the trophy. This time, we had an heavy-weight final with two of the best players in football Europe, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané, facing each other in the final.
For the first time in history, Senegal lifted the AFCON trophy – a squad featuring of players based in France, Turkey, Germany, Belgium and England. The Senegal squad is not unique. For a long time, European clubs have used Africa to identify cheap future stars – something we’ve seen in the transfer policy of FC Nordsjælland, who takes advantage of the Right to Dream Academy in their recruitment policy.
In fact, Africa has a long reputation of producing some of the best players in the world. Who can forget George Weah, Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o, Jay-Jay Ochoa, Nwankwo Kanu or Yaya Touré?!
All incredible footballers who started off their professional football career at minor clubs around Europe before eventually making the breakthrough and ending up at one of the best clubs in Europe.
- The BEST Football Manager 2022 Wonderkids | Download The Ultimate FM22 Wonderkids Shortlist
- Football Manager 2022 Best Free Agents
- Football Manager 2022 Best Bargains & Cheap Players
- Football Manager 2022 South American Wonderkids
- FM22 Cheap Wonderkids & Bargain Talents Under €1Mill
- Hidden Gem Wonderkids in Football Manager 2022
With the AFCON tournament under way I thought it could be great to look at the future stars that might one day lift the AFCON trophy by looking at the best African Under-21 gems in Football Manager 2022 that could turn into world-class players with the right tutoring and development program.
Here we have identified some of the best Football Manager 2022 African talents that’s coming through the conveyer belt of nations on the African continent. You’ll experience some of the best wonderkids in Africa that are still based in their home nation as well as a few hidden African gems trying to break through on the international stage by playing outside the top 6 European nations and leagues.
NB! Featured alongside this overview of the best talents in Africa on Football Manager 2022 I’ll give you a downloadable shortlist if the African gems which you can import into your own save in FM22.
Download FM22 African Wonderkids Shortlist
Locate the best African Wonderkids in Football Manager 2022 with our shortlist featuring, amongst others, the most talented players from Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Morocco.
Top 10 African Gems in Football Manager 2022
[MOR] Amine Essahel / 18 / KAS Eupen (Académie Mohammed VI)
When King Mohammed VI decided to create a football academy to improve the number of Moroccan football talents, the aim was to produce players that could lead the Moroccan national team to future glory.
While most Moroccan football stars is born outside Morocco (Achraf Hakimi, Spain and Hakim Ziyech, Holland), the nation wanted to produce more homegrown players and establish the facilities needed to produce the next generation of footballers.
Now we’re starting to see the results, since one of the greatest talents within the Football Académie Mohammed VI, Amine Essahel, was picked up on loan by KAS Eupen in the summer of 2021.
The 18 year old attacking midfielder hasn’t received the trust needed to finally break through in Belgium. With only 21 minutes of play this season, future might seem unknown when his loan contract expires in the summer of 2022.
In Football Manager 2022, Amine Essahel could be a cheap wonderkid bargain, as he’s available on an Approach to Sign at the start of a new save. His abilities to play either as an Advanced Playmaker or Enganche could make him a useful signing for any 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 systems.
Standing out for his Vision, First Touch, Passing and Technique he excels with the ball at his feet. With Flair, Dribbling and relatively good Balance and Pace he’s capable of unlocking the opponent’s defence by taking on his marker.
In fact, Amine Essahel’s FM22 player profile makes me draw similarities to Andres Iniesta – a player who can create chances and one who can dictate the tempo of the game with his sublime technical abilities.
Star Rating: [3halfstar]
Samba Diallo / 18 / Dynamo Kyiv
If you’re looking for a cheap Inverted Winger that could develop into a decent player in the La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 or Eredivisie, I’d recommend to have a look at the Senegalese youngster Samba Diallo. The current Senegal Under-20 National Team player came through Dynamo Kyiv from AF Darou Salam prior to the 2021-22 season.
He’s now plying his trade in the Dynamo Kyiv Under-19 squad where he has made a great display in the UEFA Youth League with 5 goals in 7 appearances. Samba Diallo is currently under a contract that runs until December 2026, something that means he might not be available to be signed immediately besides trying to get him on a loan.
Available to play as both Inverted Winger left or Inside Forward, he’s a player bagged with creativity. His technical abilities in possession of the ball helps to keep possession and dominate the game in the opposition half.
Semba Diallo is one gifted player who can create chances for himself and others with his direct way of playing. As he always looks to beat his marker and draw opponents out of position with movements and dribbles, he’s a major threat in the attacking game. With flick-ons, lay-offs and tricks he’s one who is highly difficult to defend against, as they don’t really know what will happen next.
I would not be surprised if we’re 5-10 years on, see Samba Diallo playing for one of the biggest clubs in football Europe – perhaps following in the footsteps of fellow Senegalese International Sadio Mané.
Star Rating: [3halfstar]
[GHA] Abdul Fatawu Issahaku / 17 / Dreams (Sporting Lison)
On the topic of speedy wingers, another African cheap gem to know of is the Ghanaian wondekid Abdul Fatawu Issahaku. The youngster has been attracting lots of interest prior to the AFCON tournament as one to watch.
The player has impressed hugely for his former club Steadfast FC and the Ghana Under-20 in the past year. He was awarded the best player in the AFCON U20 Tournament in March 2021 – something that attracted the attention of major clubs like Liverpool.
The gifted attacking midfielder earned a call-up to the Ghanaian National Squad to travel to the AFCON tournament. He eventually made his debut for Ghana coming on the pitch in the 86th minute to replace Jordan Ayew – becoming the youngest player to make an appearance in the AFCON tournament in the 21th century. The record wouldn’t last though. 10 days later Beyatt Lekoueiry superseeded him.
The performance in the Ghanaian Premier League (3 assists, 6 goals in 7 appearances) for Dreams FC and his magnificent potential saw Sporting Lisbon fending off interest from Liverpool to complete a transfer deal with Fatawu Issahaku. The transfer was in fact made official at the time of writing this piece.
Standing out for his Acceleration and Pace, Abdul Fatawu also got great Dribbling and Crossing. His movement and progressive runs have earlier seen him cause havoc in the opposition’s defensive block. His unpredictability and close control makes him a dangerous player in open play. He has surprised both the opposing goalkeeper and made the fans in awe with his incredible long shots and quick feet.
When he also got the ability to keep possession of the ball despite under pressure and likes to cut inside his movements with the ball creates overloads in the centre of the pitch that creates room to shoot or play the ball to a better positioned player. He’s an amazing player to watch as he dances light-footed around the pitch with the ball glued to his feet in a similar manner as a certain Argentinian.
Featured in the Guardian’s Next Generation 2021 list, Abdul Fatawu Issahaku is a player we will definitely see more of! I would not be surprised if he will be one of the players with significant upgrade in the official FM22 Winter Transfer Update expected to be released in early March 2022.
Star Rating: [4star]
[NIG] Silas Nwankwo / 17 / Nasarawa (Mjällby)
Swedish Allsvenskan club Mjällby AIF might have made a scoop this transfer window when they signed the 18-year old joint top-scorer of the Nigerian Premier League on a contract that runs until December 2025.
The Nigerian wonderkid have scored 20 goals in 40 appearances for Nasarawa United, helping the club to a second place finish.
While there’s been doubts of the player’s age after being listed as a 24-year old in Football Manager 2021, the player is 17 on Football Manager 2022, which we will abide by. It wouldn’t be the first time, the age of African talents have been debated though.
In FM22, Silas Nwankwo is a speedy Advanced Forward who can also play as an Inverted Winger. Featuring the necessary Dribbling and Flair to open up the opposing defensive lines with direct runs and off the ball movements, Silas Nwankwo could be a useful asset to your team. Use him in the IF-A role to overload the right flank and see him move in between the central defender and the fullback to finish off the team’s chances.
Prior to FM22 (db 22.3), you might be able to secure the player for under €200K. Quite a bargain for a player with same potential as Uruguayan striker Agustín Alvarez, but where Alvarez is tactically gifted, Silas needs to improve his Anticipation, Composure and Heading to be a striker of similar standard.
Star Rating: [4star]
[NIG] Akinkunmi Amoo / 19 / Hammarby (FK København)
One of the major transfers when it comes to African players in this winter transfer window was Danish club FC København’s signing of Akinkunmi Amoo. The Nigerian winger came to Hammarby (Swedish Allsvenskan) in the summer of 2020 despite major interest from major European clubs, such as AC Milan and Ajax. Scoring a total of 13 goals in 49 appearances for Hammarby and leading the club to claiming their first Svenska Cupen trophy after a nerve-wrecking penalty shoot-out, the former Nigerian Under-17 World Cup star is shining in Scandinavia.
Battling for a place in the first team against three year younger teenage sensation Roony Bardghji, which you can get in FM22 by downloading our Football Manager 2022 NextGen Talents Database, Akinkunmi Amoo could use FCK as a stepping stone to one day play for one of the biggest clubs in Europe. He definitely got the potential and abilities to do it!
Akinkunmi Amoo’s Football Manager 2022 player profile describes him as a highly speedy Inverted Winger who is best utilized on the right flank since his strongest foot is his left. Real statistics from Sofacore helps to describe the player further. With 0.42 goals per minute in the 2021 season, 1.2 key passes per game, 1.6 successful dribbles per game, the 163 cm tall winger could draw resemblance to Lionel Messi.
His capabilities to create chances (7 major chances created in Allsvenskan) and attacking instinct to shot when the opportunity arises (2.2 shots per game) is remarkable for his age.
NB! In fact, Amoo got the versatility to be used as both a wide playmaker, Shadow Striker or a left Inverted Winger. His three appearances as attacking midfielder has resulted in 3 goals and 2 assists.
Who knows what the future holds for Akinkunmi Amoo but what we can be certain of is that he’s a brilliant signing for your next FM22 save.
Star Rating: [4star]
[IVC] Datro Fofana / 18 / Molde
Over the past few years, Norwegian clubs have looked to Africa for talents to further the development of, and eventually sell for profit by using the network of football agent Aneke Atta. Due to his African knowledge, Eliteserien have profited from the abilities of Odion Ighalo, Chidera Edjuke, Samuel Adegbenro, Fred Friday and Leke James. One of Atta’s clients is young striker Datro Fofana who got great potential to develop into a player that could take Italy, Holland, Belgium, France or Spain with storm.
In the last season, Datro Fofana received 26 appearances (cups and qualifiers included). While he still needs to await his first debut goal in the Eliteserien, he made an assist against Sarpsborg 08.
David Datro Fofana is a product of the Abidjan City FC and is a quick Advanced Forward or Inside Forward. With 16 in Acceleration and Pace he could be labelled as a cheap Sadio Mané. So far, he’s kind of a rough diamond in the making needing to improve his football intelligence and decision-making of when to press for the ball, when and where to move, as well as his abilities to create chances for his teammates. So far, he’s a fairly selfish player that could improve his performances massively by working on his mental abilities.
In terms of aiding his development, I would put him on individual training Final Third and Attacking Movement to make him a better footballer. He already got the Determination and Personality to be a great signing.
Star Rating: [4star]
[IVC] Parfait Guiagon / 20 / Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Parfait Guiagon might not be an unfamiliar name for any Football Manager ‘addicts’, or avid football fans.
the Ivorian midfielder featured in Guardian’s Next Generation 2018 list together with Thiago Almada and Takefuso Kubo.
After the central midfielder made a promising debut in the Ivorian top league at the age of 15, his career didn’t really pan out as expected. When Africa Sports declined a bid from Anderlecht in 2018, he had to put a halt into his ambitions of being swooped up by any of the European top clubs.
Eventually he ended up at Maccabi Tel-Aviv where he has been loaned out to both Beitar Tel-Aviv and now Maccabi Netanya. Currently inured with an hamstring injury with unknown return date, Parfait Guiagon has made a decent display in the Ligat ha’Al this season with 4 goals and 2 assists in 14 appearances.
Parfait Guigaon’s Football Manager 2022 player profile draws attention to his Vision, Dribbling, Agility and Flair. As an Advanced Playmaker he got the abilities to thread passes and bring the ball into the final third by being a press-resistant midfielder.
In fact, his Crossing (11), Dribbling (12), Agility (13) and quickness can make him into a useful asset on the flanks, either as one to overload the half spaces in the attacking Mezzala role, or re-train him into the Inverted Winger role.
Parfait Guiagon should be available for around €2Mill, so he’s one of the more costlier players on today’s list.
Star Rating: [3halfstar]
Rauf Salifu / 19 / Accra Lions (Kansas City)
One of the winter transfers that might have gone unnoticed is Rauf Salifu moving to MLS Next Pro club Kansas City II on loan. The Ghanaian wonderkid came to my notice in the research for cheap wonderkids in FM22 and was quickly signed in my Anderlecht save for a fee of €52K!
With very little risk, I was able to sign a young Ghanaian poacher who can develop and sell for profit a few seasons it. The 175cm tall forward is a real goalscorer – a fox in the box.
With decent Acceleration and Pace he can provide depth in your system as the opposition needs to take into account the threat to attack behind their defensive line. When Rauf Salifu is highly unpredictable with his Off the ball Movement and positioning on the pitch, he can be a difficult player to take out.
Standing out for his Finishing and First Touch, he doesn’t require to take to long to get control of the ball in pressurized situations. Having the smartness and football understanding to know where to move and when to pass or shoot, I believe Rauf Salifu could be one we will hear lots more about in the years to come.
Star Rating: [4star]
[IVC] Brahima Ouattara / 18 / Lausanne-Sport
In 2018, French club OGC Nice signed a partnership with Ivorian club RC Abidjan. It shouldn’t take long before the first Ivorian player was signed and replaced the African continent with European soil.
For an undisclosed fee, one of the most talented attacking midfielders in Ivory Coast was signed by OGC Nice and given a chance to gain first-team experience by being send out on loan to Lausanne. In Switzerland, Brahima Ouattara is playing alongside Jean N’Guessan – another Ivorian wonderkid I need to recommend when I have this opportunity!
In the Swiss Super League, Brahima Ouattara has produced 2 goals and 1 assists in 18 appearances. A shadow striker by trait, the 18 year old attacking midfielder with the versatility to play both on the flank and up front, could be a brilliant signing in your FM22 career.
Featuring great Acceleration and Pace, Off the ball Movement and Work Rate he’s adept at playing between the lines and being a direct attacking threat that creates havoc in the opposition’s defensive block. with 13 in Finishing, 14 Technique and 13 Composure he’s great in one-on-one situations with the goalkeeper and could be the future star you need in your counter-attacking system.
Star Rating: [4star]
[IVC] Karim Konaté / 17 / ASEC Mimosas
ASEC Mimosas might be one of the leading clubs in Africa when it comes to youth development, as they have formed a partnership with MimoSifcom academy in Abidjan. The Ivorian club have for decades filled Europe and the Ivorian National team with stars like Salomon Kalou, Emmanuel Eboué, Lacina Traore and Bonaventure Kalou.
The most recent Ivorian wonderkid coming through their ranks is Karim Konaté – a young centre-forward who have already made his debut for the Ivory Coast National team. The debut came in 3rd of September 2021, only a few months before Football Manager 2022 release. Since then, he has made a great display in the CAF-Champions League and CAF Conferedation Cup by scoring 6 goals in 6 appearances.
Karim Konaté could be the next Ivorian striker to follow in the footsteps of Didier Drogba. Featuring some of the same abilities like him; Strength, Work Rate, Aggression and instinct inside the box to put the ball into the back of the net.
Even though he’s physical imposing, what should be mentioned is his Movements both with and without the ball. He both got the abilities to use his speed to run into space or bring the ball forward into goalscoring positions.
With a fairly all-rounded player profile he might be as decent in the False 9 role as the Complete Forward role – meaning you’ll can fit the player into any system and playing style you favour.
Available for around €500-800K, he’s one to sign as quick as possible to develop him into a future world-class player in your own mould.
Star Rating: [4star]
- Victor Boniface, 23.12.2000, Bodø-Glimt – ST
- Mohammed Diomandé, 30.10.2001, FC Nordsjælland – AMLC
- Alhassan Yusuf, 18.07.2000, Antwerp – DM/MC
- Wassim Essanoussi, 28.10.2003, VVV Venlo – MC
- Omar el Hilali, 12.09.2003, Espanyol B – D/WBR
- Ishaq Abudlrazak, 05.05.2002, IFK Norrköping – WB/M/AMR
- Bénie Traoré, 30.11.2002, BK Häcken – AMR (AML)
- Anderson Niangbo, 06.10.1999, Sturm Graz (KAA Gent) – AMR/ST
- Aziz Ouattara, 04.01.2001, Hammarby IF – DC/DM
- Konan N’Dri, 27.10.2000, KAS Eupen – AMRL (ST)
- Demba Seck, 10.02.2001, SPAL – ST (AMRL)
- Demba Diop, 04.09.2003, Diambars FC – MC
- Ismail Moutaraji, 01.02.2000, Chabab Mohammedia – M/AMC
- Abdul Rahmane Konaté, 03.02.2004, RC Abidjan – MC
- Adamo Nagalo, 22.09.2002, FC Nordsjælland – DRC
- Ibrahim Adel, 01.05.2001, Pyramids – AML/ST
- + many more added in the shortlist
How to find the best African Talents in Football Manager 2022?
Here’s a few quick tips to be able to find African talents in Football Manager 2022.
To spot some of the mentioned African football talents you need to load a save with a custom database size by loading all players from top divisions on the African continent. At least, that’s what I’ve done.
You can also increase the scouting knowledge of the continent by scouting specific nations or regions.
Some clubs have the transfer policy to sign players in African nations, such as KAS Eupen and RB Salzburg, or have established partnerships with reputated clubs in Africa (e.g. Amiens affiliated with Jeanne d’Arc, KAS Eupen (ASPIRE), FC Nordsjælland (Right to Dream) and Brødnby (Wits).
Then you can sign scouts or coaches with knowledge of African nations either due to their experience or nationality. Anderlecht has a few scouts with knowledge of Nigeria, Guinea, DR Congo (Eddy van Daele, Johan Plancke and Albert Martens), and a youth coach with Moroccan nationality (Noureddine Moukrim).
Other staff to consider are Eric Abidal, Mikaël Hanouna (Niort), Imad Najah (Vitesse),
Have you found any African gems in Football Manager 2022 which you like to make our readers aware of? Share your recommendations of future Egyptian kings, Nigerian wonderkids or the next Sadio Mané by using the comments field below.