The Most Famous

SOCCER PLAYERS from Democratic Republic of the Congo

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This page contains a list of the greatest Congolese Soccer Players. The pantheon dataset contains 21,273 Soccer Players, 47 of which were born in Democratic Republic of the Congo. This makes Democratic Republic of the Congo the birth place of the 58th most number of Soccer Players behind Iceland, and Georgia.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Congolese Soccer Players of all time. This list of famous Congolese Soccer Players is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Congolese Soccer Players.

Photo of Claude Makélélé

1. Claude Makélélé (b. 1973)

With an HPI of 55.03, Claude Makélélé is the most famous Congolese Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages on wikipedia.

Claude Makélélé Sinda (born 18 February 1973) is a football manager and former professional player who played as a defensive midfielder. Regarded as one of the greatest defensive midfielders of all time, Makélélé has been credited with redefining the defensive midfield role in English football, especially during the 2004–05 FA Premier League season, where he played a key role in helping Chelsea win the title with 95 points. In homage, the defensive midfield position is sometimes colloquially known as the "Makélélé Role". In his playing career, which ended at Paris Saint-Germain, Makélélé also played for Nantes, Marseille, Celta Vigo, Real Madrid and Chelsea. He won league titles in France, Spain and England, as well as the 2001–02 UEFA Champions League during his time with Real Madrid. Furthermore, Makélélé was once selected in the FIFPRO Men's World 11 while playing for Chelsea. Born in Zaire, Makélélé was a French international for 13 years and was part of the France national team which reached the final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He also represented his nation at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, two UEFA European Championships and the 1996 Summer Olympics. After retiring from playing, Makélélé went into coaching and technical staff roles. He has been manager at Bastia and Eupen; assistant manager at Paris Saint-Germain and Swansea; a youth coach and technical mentor at Chelsea; and technical director at Monaco.

Photo of Ndaye Mulamba

2. Ndaye Mulamba (1948 - 2019)

With an HPI of 51.12, Ndaye Mulamba is the 2nd most famous Congolese Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Pierre Ndaye Mulamba (4 November 1948 – 26 January 2019) was a footballer from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire, who played as a forward. He was nicknamed "Mutumbula" ("assassin") and "Volvo".

Photo of Kembo Uba Kembo

3. Kembo Uba Kembo (1947 - 2007)

With an HPI of 50.23, Kembo Uba Kembo is the 3rd most famous Congolese Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Jean Kembo Uba-Kembo (27 December 1947 – 26 March 2007) was a Congolese football midfielder who played for Zaire in the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

Photo of Steve Mandanda

4. Steve Mandanda (b. 1985)

With an HPI of 50.12, Steve Mandanda is the 4th most famous Congolese Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.

Steve Mandanda Mpidi (French pronunciation: [stɛv mɑ̃dɑ̃da]; born 28 March 1985) is a French professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper and is the captain of Ligue 1 club Rennes. A product of the Le Havre academy, Mandanda spent most of his professional career with Marseille, making 613 appearances across all competitions in two spells at the club, and was voted Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year five times. He also had a short stint with English club Crystal Palace between his spells at Marseille. In 2023, Mandanda joined Rennes. Born in Zaire (present-day DR Congo), Mandanda played for the France national team. Making his debut in 2008, representing France at seven international tournaments: four UEFA European Championships (2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020) and three FIFA World Cups (2010, 2018, 2022), winning the tournament in 2018.

Photo of Mwepu Ilunga

5. Mwepu Ilunga (1949 - 2015)

With an HPI of 47.49, Mwepu Ilunga is the 5th most famous Congolese Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Joseph Mwepu Ilunga (22 August 1949 – 8 May 2015) was a football defender from Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). His name is also written as Alunga Mwepu.

Photo of José Bosingwa

6. José Bosingwa (b. 1982)

With an HPI of 45.78, José Bosingwa is the 6th most famous Congolese Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.

José Bosingwa da Silva (born 24 August 1982) is a Portuguese former professional footballer who played as a right-back. An attacking fullback, his pace and ability to get up and down the flanks created problems for the opposition. He spent most of his professional career with Porto and Chelsea, winning 13 honours overall including the UEFA Champions League with both clubs: 2004 with the former and 2012 with the latter. A Portuguese international since 2007, Bosingwa represented the nation at Euro 2008 and the 2004 Summer Olympics, earning a total of 27 caps.

Photo of Kazadi Mwamba

7. Kazadi Mwamba (1947 - 1996)

With an HPI of 45.57, Kazadi Mwamba is the 7th most famous Congolese Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Robert Kazadi Mwamba (6 March 1947 – 1998) was a goalkeeper who played for TP Mazembe and Zaire.

Photo of Mwanza Mukombo

8. Mwanza Mukombo (1945 - 2001)

With an HPI of 45.56, Mwanza Mukombo is the 8th most famous Congolese Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Albert Mwanza Mukombo (17 December 1945 – 13 October 2001) was a Congolese footballer who played for Zaire in the 1974 FIFA World Cup. He also played for TP Mazembe. He is well-known among Argentine sticker collectors due to his sticker for the 1974 World Cup Album by Panini being near-impossible to collect due to its rarity.

Photo of Mavuba Mafuila

9. Mavuba Mafuila (1949 - 1996)

With an HPI of 45.29, Mavuba Mafuila is the 9th most famous Congolese Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Ricky Mavuba Mafuila Ku Mbundu (15 December 1949 – 30 November 1996) was a football player from Zaire, nicknamed The Black Sorcerer. His son is Rio Mavuba, who was a French international footballer.

Photo of Kakoko Etepé

10. Kakoko Etepé (b. 1950)

With an HPI of 44.93, Kakoko Etepé is the 10th most famous Congolese Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Emmanuel Kakoko Etepé (born 22 November 1950) is a Congolese former professional footballer who played as a forward. He represented Zaire in the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

People

Pantheon has 66 people classified as Congolese soccer players born between 1945 and 1999. Of these 66, 56 (84.85%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Congolese soccer players include Claude Makélélé, Steve Mandanda, and José Bosingwa. The most famous deceased Congolese soccer players include Ndaye Mulamba, Kembo Uba Kembo, and Mwepu Ilunga. As of April 2024, 18 new Congolese soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Kembo Uba Kembo, Kazadi Mwamba, and Mwanza Mukombo.

Living Congolese Soccer Players

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Deceased Congolese Soccer Players

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Newly Added Congolese Soccer Players (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Soccer Players were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 8 most globally memorable Soccer Players since 1700.