In Europe and America (North and South) sportsmen in the fields of golf, motor sport, rugby and basketball dominate the list of sports richest earners, not just players from the world of football, but it’s different in Africa. Even though we have track athletes (mostly from East Africa) making millions from running, it is footballers (who mainly ply their trade in Europe) who top Africa’s list of the richest sportsmen.
Chasing the round leather ball is a huge business and big names like David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney make millions from it. African players haven’t been left behind however, as is evident from the recent publication of the Sports Rich List 2012.
Samuel Eto, the Cameroonian footballer tops the list. The most decorated player in Africa is estimated to be worth $40 million. The former Barcelona and Inter Milan player now earns a record $25 million a year ($485,000 a week!) with his new Russian football club Anzhi Makhachkala making him one of the world’s highest paid footballers. He has also enjoyed sponsorship deals from Puma and Ford among others.
In between the football infested richest sports list is basket ball player Luol Deng who plays for Chicago Bulls. Deng is worth $37 million (after charitable donations). A British citizen was in fact born in Sudan but his family escaped to London to escape Sudan’s civil war.
Coming in third is Ivory Coast and Chelsea forward Didier Drogba who is estimated to be worth $33.8 million. Drogba, who is Chelsea’s all time top overseas scorer earns around $170,000 a week and has endorsement deals with Pepsi, Nike and Samsung. He is well known for his philanthropy and proceeds from his endorsements are diverted to charitable causes.
Michael Essien comes in forth. The Ghanaian footballer who plays for Chelsea in the English Premier League is said to be worth $24.2 million earning around $129,000 a week. Since his injury last year Essien has lost his form and has been more commonly seen on the bench this season.
Though he is one of the top earners pocketing around $322,000 a week, Yaya Toure ranks only fifth place in African sports rich list with an estimated total net worth $19.3 million. The Ivory Coast midfielder and former Barcelona man has become an instant hit at Manchester City and has played a crucial role in City’s title challenge against local rivals Manchester United. City look set to win the English Premier League title this weekend after 44 years of waiting.
Emmanuel Adebayor from Togo follows his club mate Yaya Toure. The Manchester City player who is on loan to Tottenham Hotspurs after falling out of favor with City’s manager
Emmanuel Adebayor is worth $15 million. He earns a weekly salary of around $274,000.
Kolo Toure the brother to Yaya who also plays for Manchester City is seventh on the list with a worth of some $11.4 million. The defender, who faces a two year ban after a failed drug test,
earns around $193,000 a week (so he’ll get by).
Concluding our small list is Chelsea’s Salomon Kalou who is worth a mere $11.3 million. The Ivory Coast star earns $129,000 a week (how does he manage?).
As we can see, the African sports rich list is dominated by footballers from West Africa. Though Kenya and East Africa have produced athletes who have earned big money from the sporting life the Kenya Forum hopes that it will not be too long before our own home-grown sportsmen and women dominate the sports rich list.