Highest Earning Players At AFCON 2023

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afcon 2023 highest payed players
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The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), a prominent football tournament in Africa, unites national teams from across the continent to celebrate the abundant talent in African football. It is widely regarded as one of the top-tier events in the African football schedule, highlighting the wealth of talent that the continent possesses.

The African continent has consistently produced some of the world’s finest footballers. Renowned players like Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, Abedi Pele, Jay-Jay Okocha, Hossam Hassan, Roger Milla, George Weah, and Yaya Touré have not only graced the global football stage but have also showcased the very best of Africa’s footballing talent.

These football legends have paved the way for today’s African stars, including Rihad Mahrez, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Achraf Hakimi. One of the ways in which these contemporary African players have reaped the benefits of the groundwork laid by their predecessors is through their significantly increased earnings. The substantial investments pouring into the sport today have resulted in the world’s top footballers earning more than ever before.

Among the current crop of African stars, who is enjoying the most significant financial rewards for their outstanding performances on the pitch? Through Capology, a site which helps to find football player salaries, contracts, and club financial accounts, we have been able to dig into the data to see which African player is the highest paid of those taking part in the tournament. 

Who is AFCON’s Highest Paid Player 

In total, the top ten highest-earning African players collectively receive a staggering average annual wage (base) of €224,870,000. Topping this list is Algerian winger Rihad Mahrez, who enjoyed an illustrious career in England. Recently, Mahrez made headlines by transferring from Manchester City to Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahli on a deal extending until 2027. The reported transfer fee from the Premier League champions to the Saudi side is €35 million ($38.53 million), with an additional €5 million in add-ons. Mahrez is said to be earning an average weekly wage (base) of €1,003,846, resulting in an impressive annual income of €52,200,000.

Claiming the second spot on the list is fellow African sensation, Senegalese winger Sadio Mane, Mane recently joined Saudi Pro League club Al-Nassr after a season with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. He is now raking in an astonishing average weekly wage (base) of €769,231 and an annual salary of €40,000,000.

In third position is Kalidou Koulibaly, who made the move to Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal from Premier League outfit Chelsea. Koulibaly earns an average weekly wage (base) of €667,308 and enjoys an annual income of €34,700,000.

Liverpool’s iconic figure and Egyptian national team captain, Mohamed Salah, occupies the fourth spot. Unfortunately, Salah is currently sidelined due to a back injury that might see him miss the remainder of the tournament. He receives an average weekly wage (base) of €350,000, which is €317,308 less than Koulibaly. Salah’s annual earnings amount to €18,200,000, marking a significant €16,500,000 difference between the pair.  Salah is enjoying a fine season for his club having been on the scoresheet 16 times in all competitions so far. 

Completing the top five is Seko Fofana, a prominent player for Al Nassr and the Ivory Coast national team. Fofana recently featured in their 4-0 defeat against Equatorial Guinea. In a related development, Jean-Louis Gasset has been dismissed from his position as coach of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations hosts, Ivory Coast. This defeat marked the heaviest home loss in Ivory Coast’s history, and they are the first Afcon host to suffer two group-stage defeats since their 1984 campaign.

Completing the top ten highest earners is Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi (€279,808/€14,550,000), Franck Kessie (€269,231/€14,000,000) of the Ivory Coast who is also facing elimination from the tournament, Victor Osimhen (€246,538/€12,820,000) who has been linked with a move to their Premier League and could see a rise in his wages, Inaki Williams (€219,231/€11,400,000) and Edouard Mendy (€211,538/€11,000,000). 

Average Wages Per Country

In our football data story, we have also gathered information about the nations with the highest-earning squads. Leading the list is Senegal, with an average weekly wage (base) of €110,259.60, encompassing 20 players, and an average annual wage of $5,733,500.00. The team is led by captain Sadio Mane and boasts prominent players such as Nicolas Jackson, Fode Ballo-Toure, Pape Matar Sarr, Idrissa Gueye, Moussa Niakhate, and Cheikhou Kouyate.

Following closely is Ivory Coast, whose squad boasts an average weekly wage of $96,971.17 and an average annual wage of $5,042,500.00. Morocco played a crucial role in Ivory Coast's journey to the Africa Cup of Nations last 16 by defeating Zambia, gracing them entry via the back door. Ivory Coast is now set to face Senegal in a highly anticipated last-16 clash on Monday. Ivory Coast would have had hopes of having an easier course to the last 16 due to being the host nation, alongside having the second highest paid squad at the tournament. Notably, Wilfried Zaha was a surprising omission, despite his successful stint at Galatasaray, and former Manchester United centre-back Eric Bailly, now at Villarreal, also missed out. Seko Fofana and Frank Kessie are two of the top ten earners at the tournament. 

Algeria, boosted by the wages of Rihad Mahrez, is next on the list, with an average weekly wage of $96,159.13 and an average annual wage of $5,001,250.00. Egypt follows closely with an average weekly wage of $79,725.14 and an average annual wage of $4,145,714.29.

African football and its talented players have made significant strides, and the diverse range of skills emanating from the African continent is prominently showcased at the ongoing tournament. As the sport and the tournament continues to evolve, the athletes have the opportunity to exhibit their talents to the world and truly represent the essence of African football.


Data Collection: To determine the highest-earning players at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), we conducted a manual data collection process. This involved cross-referencing information from Capology with the official squad lists of the participating teams in the tournament.

Note to journalists: We want to emphasise the importance of transparency and accuracy in our data collection process. While we strived to provide the most comprehensive information available, it is essential to acknowledge that not all player wage data was accessible through Capology in conjunction with the provided squad lists for each AFCON team. We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the data that we were able to gather.

18+ | Play responsibly | Terms and Conditions apply | Commercial Content