From Abedi Pelé to Drogba, via Niang and Diawara, many African footballers have left an indelible mark on the history of Olympique de Marseille. Let’s discover them together in this top 10.
African footballers who have passed through OM, a veritable institution in France, have been legion throughout the history of the Olympian club. While some have left an anecdotal trace there, others have engraved their indelible imprint on it forever, thus contributing to its national and European renown, with as a high point this victory in the 1993 Champions Leaguewhich took place 30 years ago to the day.
Abedi Pele, during his spell at Olympique de Marseille, had the peak of his career with victory in the Champions League in 1993. In the final against AC Milan, the Ghanaian was the architect of the only achievement of the match, providing a decisive pass to Basile Boli from a corner. This prestigious victory marked a historic moment for OM and crowned the exceptional talent of Abedi Pelé, who notably won three African Ballons d’Or consecutively from 1991 to 1993.
#OnThisDay in 1993: 🇬🇭 Abedi Pele’s corner and 🇨🇮 Basile Boli’s header helped Marseille to a 1-0 win over AC Milan in the Champions League final. #OM @OM_English is the only 🇫🇷 French club to have won the @ChampionsLeague
— Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) May 26, 2023
Another name that resonates in the bays of the Stade Vélodrome is that of Didier drogba. The Ivorian striker, in Marseille during the 2003-2004 season, quickly won the hearts of supporters with his talent and his goalscoring instinct (32 goals in 55 games). His memorable performances and his decisive role in the UEFA Cup epic (they had reached the final) made him a true OM legend, remembered as one of the most outstanding African players. to have worn the Marseille jersey.
🔙 19 years ago today, Didier Drogba 🇨🇮 played his last match with Olympique de Marseille!#TeamOM pic.twitter.com/E9qBPw1guz
— 𝐁𝐞𝐎𝐌 (@Be_OM13) May 23, 2023
Mamadou Niang, during his stay at Olympique de Marseille between 2005 and 2010, scored no less than 100 goals in 227 games. His offensive contribution was essential for OM when they won their French title in 2010. That season, he scored 18 goals in Ligue 1 alone! The Senegalese international (59 caps, 20 goals) will then continue his career at Fenerbahçe (Turkey), Al Sadd (Qatar) and Beşiktaş (Turkey) before a brief return near Marseille, near Arles-Avignon, where he will close his career in 2015.
🇸🇳 Outrageous from Mamadou Niang! @OM_English | #UCL pic.twitter.com/cYU4N5GGMT
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) January 12, 2022
Souleymane Diawara, Senegalese defender, marked his time at Olympique de Marseille from 2009 to 2014. Arrived for 6.5 million euros, he quickly found his place as a pillar of the Olympian defence. The native of Gabou (Senegal) largely contributed to the title of champion of France in 2010 and to the victory in the Coupe de la Ligue the same year. His shirt number, 21, was retired in his honor to highlight his loyalty and impact within the club.
Souleymane Diawara says he didn’t even know his jersey number had been taken away at OM to pay tribute to him 😂
(🎥 @Moneytimecast) pic.twitter.com/COJZJczcjE
— Instant Foot ⚽️ (@lnstantFoot) May 9, 2023
son of Abedi Pelé, has become like his father a true legend of Olympique de Marseille. From his debut, he conquered the hearts of the fans by scoring his first goal against Paris Saint-Germain. In 160 games, Ayew scored 44 goals and provided 7 assists, leaving an important mark in the history of the club. His family heritage and his talent have made him a symbol of pride and inspiration for OM fans.
In 2014 during OM/Montpellier, André Ayew had to be replaced because his 2 shirts were stained with blood and he was clean. pic.twitter.com/dvzT9u1R76
— Vibrons Foot (@VibronsFoot) May 25, 2019
Joseph Maya, emblematic player of Olympique de Marseille in the 1960s, marked the history of the club thanks to his goalscoring instinct. Despite a descent into Division 2, the Indomitable Lion made a name for himself on the Canebière, in particular thanks to his irresistible heading game. With 113 goals in 226 games, Joseph Maya is one of the best scorers in the history of OM. His talent and efficiency contributed to victory in the Coupe de France in 1969, ending a 26-year period without a title for the club.
Joseph Yegba Maya born in 1944 in Otélé, Cameroon. Played 236 games with OM as a striker, scoring 113 goals! Winner of the cup in 1969, Vice champion in 1970 at the start of the Leclerc presidency. Glory to him. #TeamOM #SaleOM pic.twitter.com/he4Srpq9Wa
—Domus Nostra (@DomusNostra1) April 18, 2023
Taye Taiwo, left-back Nigerian, joined Olympique de Marseille in 2005. Upon his arrival, he established himself as a key element of the team and helped to erase the defensive weaknesses in the left lane. His explosive talent was illustrated by his powerful and precise strikes, often unlocking complicated situations. Despite the criticism, Taiwo made OM history by becoming the most capped Olympian in the European Cup. His formidable offensive game and his missiles remain etched in the memories of Marseille supporters.
𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐠𝐮𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 🚀
Happy Birthday to @OM_English legend Taye Taiwo! 🇳🇬 pic.twitter.com/LFTKoXedeN
— Ligue 1 English (@Ligue1_ENG) April 16, 2023
The side Senegalese international Habib Beye (44 caps, 1 goal) marked the history of Olympique de Marseille from 2003 to 2007. After being put aside by Alain Perrin, he imposed himself in the right lane of the Marseille defense under the directed by Jose Anigo. Beye reached the UEFA Cup final in 2004 and won the Intertoto Cup the following year. He was also named in the typical Ligue 1 team of the season in 2004-2005 and wore the captain’s armband.
🚨👀 Habib beye his dream to train OM one day #TeamOM #MercatOM pic.twitter.com/DnMy7SOhNX
— MΔSSILIΔ 13 (@Massilia_013) October 6, 2020
Joseph Antoine Bell
Joseph-Antoine Bell, goalkeeper Cameroonian of Olympique de Marseille between 1985 and 1988 (144 games), is a key figure in the club. He distinguished himself not only by his performance on the pitch, but also by his commitment against racism. He was indeed one of the first African players to move abroad and play in Europe. As the first black goalkeeper in the French Division 1, he paved the way for other players.
Joseph-Antoine Bell, this incredible Cameroonian goalkeeper who exploded at OM at the end of the 1980s, still being considered to this day as one of the best African goalkeepers in the history of his country 😍 pic.twitter.com/iBRaZa0umx
— Foot Multiple (@footmultiple) September 2, 2022
Stephane Mbia, a talented Cameroonian international footballer (70 caps, 5 goals), had memorable successes with OM, winning the title of French champion in 2010 and finishing runners-up the following season. He also lifted the Coupe de la Ligue in 2010. His three seasons at La Canebière, between 2009 and 2012, was invaluable for OM’s midfield at the time. Even if it was neither the most publicized nor the most prolific (5 goals in 102 games with OM), he had managed to conquer the hearts of the supporters.
Happy birthday to Stéphane Mbia
37 years old today @OM_Official pic.twitter.com/LTBb5wX5W5
— 𝔾𝕝𝕠𝕚𝕣𝕖 𝔸𝕦 ℙe𝕦𝕡𝕝𝕖 𝕄𝕒𝕣𝕤𝕖𝕚𝕝𝕝𝕒𝕚s (@DjeMassilia) May 20, 2023