African Cup of Nations: Five classic goalkeepers

The African Cup of Nations has thrown up some classic players over its history. In this series, FAH takes a look at some of the names you might have erased from your memory. We start with the men between the sticks.

Jacques Songo’o

Songo’o spent most of his club career swapping between Metz and Deportivo La Coruna, having two spells at each club between 1993 and 2004. His most successful years were during his first spell in Spain, when he helped Depor to the league title in 1997 and won the Ricardo Zamora trophy for the best goalkeeper in La Liga. In an 18-year international career with Cameroon he made 46 appearances and travelled to four straight World Cups between 1990 and 2002. In 2009 he was voted the sixth best African goalkeeper ever, with fellow Cameroonians Joseph-Antoine Bell and Thomas N’Kono taking the top two spots.

Peter Rufai

Rufai became the first Nigerian goalkeeper to play abroad when he moved to Benin-based Dragons de l’Ouémé in 1986. His talents soon took him further afield to Belgium and then Holland, with Go Ahead Eagles. After captaining Nigeria to an African Cup of Nations win and a last 16 appearance at the 1994 World Cup, Portuguese side Farense signed Rufai. The 65-times capped stopper acted as backup for the aforementioned Songo’o between 1997 and 1999 before ending his career a year later. Armed with a UEFA A License, Rufai is now back coaching in his native land.

Ghana fans

Photo: Jake Brown

Andre Arendse

When he was first choice goalkeeper for eventual winners South Africa at the 1996 African Cup of Nations, the then 29-year-old Arendse was still playing in is homeland with Cape Town Spurs. The competent goalkeeper’s big move abroad didn’t come until 1998. After missing the World Cup that year due to injury, Fulham signed him for £200,000. He spent only one season at Craven Cottage before signing for Oxford United and then heading back to South Africa to end his career. Capped on 67 occasions by his country, making him the eighth most capped South African ever, Arendse now works as a co-presenter for SuperSport TV.

Hans Vonk

Because of Arendse’s injury, Vonk was thrust into the starting eleven for the World Cup in France in 1998. South Africa didn’t qualify from their group but Vonk went on to secure 43 caps in a notable seven-year international career, during which he also made the squad for the 2002 World Cup, this time warming the bench as Arendse regained his number one shirt. Until the age of 36, Vonk played his football in the Netherlands for top flight sides such as RKC Waalwijk, Heerenveen and Ajax. He concluded his career with Ajax Cape Town in South Africa, retiring only last year.

Ike Shorunmu

Shorunmu acted as number one for Nigeria during the 2002 World Cup – a competition that pitted them alongside England, as well as Sweden and Argentina. It was undoubtedly a tough group for the Super Eagles and they finished bottom, with Shorunmu picking up the last of his 36 international caps in a 2-1 defeat to Sweden. On the back of that tournament though, Shorunmu earned a move back to Turkey, where he had appeared for Besiktas around the turn of the century, with Samsunspor. He played 69 times between 2002 and 2005 for them and ended his career soon after. Now 44, Shorunmu is a goalkeeping coach for the Nigerian national team.


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