With over 110 international goals between them and performances which bring supporters in England and Spain to their feet on a weekly basis, Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto'o, Emmanuel Adebayor and Amr Zaki leave even the most accomplished defenders quivering in their boots.
And they all have one thing in common: their drive to succeed at the very highest level. All four are currently doing their utmost to ensure their respective national teams make it to 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, the first FIFA World Cup finals to be held on African soil.
'The greatest experience ever'
Indeed, FIFA.com managed to catch up with Zaki and Adebayor recently for exclusive interviews and both were buoyant about their team's chances of qualification. "There is no doubt that we are the best African team at this stage. And we as players have the confidence to make it all the way to South Africa," said 26-year-old Zaki, part of the Egypt squad that won last year's CAF African Cup of Nations. "If we manage to get to the 2010 World Cup, which is in Africa, that would be the best thing that ever happened in my life," added Arsenal and Togo front-man Adebayor about next year's showpiece.
Despite Zaki's bullish words, Egypt are under pressure after only managing a 1-1 home draw against perceived minnows Zambia in their first match of the final stage of African Zone qualifying. Meanwhile, Côte d'Ivoire got their campaign off to a flyer, with Didier Drogba helping to fire the Elephants to a 5-0 triumph over Malawi. Yet in spite of these differing starts, relatively weak groups means both Zaki and Drogba will be confident of appearing at the finals.
If we manage to get to the 2010 World Cup, which is in Africa, that would be the best thing that ever happened in my life.
The situation is less rosy for both Adebayor and Eto'o. Given Togo and Cameroon have been drawn together in qualifying and only one team can qualify per group, it is first place or nothing for these world-class hitman in the race to reach South Africa 2010. Holding an early advantage in Group A are the Togolese, thanks to Adebayor's solitary strike in a 1-0 opening-game win over Cameroon.
In an exclusive interview, former Germany and Nigeria coach Berti Vogts once told us he considered it highly likely an African team would make the semi-finals of the next FIFA World Cup. Indeed, such an achievement would represent a dream come true for any one of the four African heroes, and for Chelsea's Drogba and Barcelona's Eto'o would form the icing on the cake of two glittering careers.
Zaki will have an early chance to give fans a taste of what is to come at this summer's FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009, which begins on 14 June. "It will be a fantastic experience to play against teams like Brazil, Italy and Spain. Our fans will expect us to play attacking football as African champions, and if you ask me that's exactly what we should do," said the forward, who has spent the 2008/09 campaign on loan at Wigan Athletic.
The goal-hungry Egyptian has every right to head to South Africa full of confidence, after a recent FIFA.com poll on this season's most impressive African striker had Zaki a very close second behind Barça spearhead Eto'o. And though Drogba and Adebayor trailed some way behind in third and fourth respectively, there is still plenty of time ahead of next summer's finals for them to show planet football just who is Africa's finest.