Africa has provided some of the world’s greatest soccer players, and one of the critical attributes that stand out is speed. Most African star players are known for their agility and speed on the ball; let us look at some of the fastest professional soccer players who own lightning-quick running abilities.
Sadio Mane (Liverpool – English Premier League & Senegal)
Sadio Mane will top many lists for African-born soccer sensations with elite skills, and for the speed category, this doesn’t alter.
Rising from France’s third division in 2012 to the heights of the UEFA Champions League final with Liverpool in 2018, Mane is regarded as one of the worlds greatest players. In 2018, then 26, Mane scored 10 goals in 13 appearances.
Since joining the Premier League from Red Bull Salzburg, his talents have been evident. At the time of his arrival to the Premier League, then Southampton manager Ronald Koeman couldn’t praise the African player enough: “I can’t see any player in the league who have the same speed as Sadio,” said Koeman. “I have always asked him to use that speed and use that movement, and the rest of the players know that is his quality.”
Alongside the Senegalese internationals high scoring output and popularity, the winger has delivered a blistering pace on the pitch.
During the 2017/18 season, Mane reached a speed of 34.84 kph (21.65 mph).
Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow – Russian Premier League & Nigeria)
Speedy talents that stem from Nigeria have been common in professional soccer, and one of CSKA Moscow’s newest stars is certainly earning that respect.
The Lagos born winger delivered his breakout season in European soccer whilst playing for Heerenveen in 2019/20. His lightning-quick attributes quickly assisted him in becoming Heerenveen’s best player.
Aged just 23, the best word to describe Ejuke is ‘potential’; he’s already an excellent player with a speed that most players struggle to keep up with. Just four years after departing from Nigeria for Europe, Ejuke is already settling into his third new league. In addition, he made his international debut for Nigeria in October of 2020.
He hasn’t been too bad in front of goal either; he scored 9 goals in 25 appearances before moving to CSKA Moscow for 11.5 million euros.
Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich – Bundesliga & Liberia/Canada)
One of Bayern Munich’s youngest superstars has been breaking speed records since joining the Bundesliga from the American Major League Soccer club Vancouver Whitecaps. He goes by the name of Alphonso Davies.
Having earned the title ‘rookie of the year’ for Munich during his debut season, he also became part of a team that won the continental treble. Some consider Davies to be the best left-back of his generation.
Unfortunately for the Liberian international squad, Davies received his Canadian citizenship, making him eligible to play for the Canadian national team. He debuted at a national level aged 16, proving how talented the youngster has been.
Davies joined Munich in 2019, and his turbo-charged acceleration has reached speeds of 22.69mph/35.51km/h. Davies continued throughout last season to make headlines for his evolving speed and has even been nicknamed “the FC Bayern roadrunner” by teammate Thomas Muller. Online betting sites couldn’t have predicted the speeds Davies would reach.
Ismaila Sarr (Watford – English Premier League & Senegal)
One player who was simply too good for a second-tier league is Ismaila Sarr. Despite his debut season for Watford in the Premier League resulting in relegation, he remained to continue his time as a Watford winger.
Watford signed Sarr for a club-record fee of 30 million British pounds, and despite coming into his own in the Premier League, it wasn’t enough to prevent the Hornets from relegation. However, an impressive 2020/21 return to the Championship for Watford saw them clinch a 2nd place finish to return into topflight soccer this coming season.
Having broken their transfer record to sign Sarr, there is no doubting the level of talent under which he falls. Through Watford’s downfalls during his first season, he could still clench 5 goals and 4 assists as a winger.
The 23-year-old has plenty of room for improvement, but one skill that would be difficult to evolve would be his speed on and off the ball.
Ismaila Sarr has recorded speeds as high as 22.6mph/36.48kph.