With the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations set to begin this Friday June 21, GHANAsoccernet.com brings you a list of some top stars to look out for at the tournament in Egypt.
With the tournament shifted to the summer, most African top players in Europe have made themselves available for selection to their various national teams thus fans will be expecting a tournament with a lot of quality from these players.
The players selected made impacts with their respective teams in Europe in the just ended season.
- Mohammed Salah- Egypt
The reigning Africa Player of the Year will be key for the Pharoahs of Egypt at this year’s tournament. Salah helped Egypt to reach the finals in the previous edition which they lost to Cameroon in the finals in Gabon. Salah was instrumental in Liverpool’s Champions League triumph this season and has indicated he will be happy to win the AFCON title with Egypt. He scored 22 goals in 38 matches this season. In the Champions League he registered five goals
- Sadio Mane- Senegal
The Senegalese had a fantastic season in the Premier League and will be hoping to replicate that at the tournament. Senegal have paraded a star-studded side to this year’s tournament and they will be hoping to win their first title with Mane as captain. Mane scored 22 goals this season in 38 matches for his club.
- Naiby Keita-Guinea
Naiby Keita will headline Guinea squad at this year’s tournament. The Liverpool midfielder is hoping to be fit for the tournament.
- Hakim Ziyech- Morocco
The Ajax midfielder will be one of the key players to watch at this year’s tournament. The Morocoo international had a good season with Ajax both in the Champions League and the Eredivise. He played 29 matches and scored 16 goals with 13 assists in the Eredivise last season. In the Champions League he scored five goals for his club.
- Nicolas Pepe- Ivory Coast
The French-Ivorian footballer will be one of the key players to watch. Pepe after an incredible season with Lille where he scored 22 goals in 38 matches has been on the radar of most top clubs in Europe. The Lille striker will cause havoc to defenders at this year’s tournament should he replicate his form.
- Alex Iwobi- Nigeria
Arsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi headlines the star players to watch in the Super Eagles team. The 23-year old will be making his debut appearance at this year’s competition.
- Riyad Mahrez- Algeria
The 2016 Africa Player of the Year will headline Algeria’s team at this year’s tournament.
Mahrez despite lack of play time at club level with Manchester City will be hoping to impress his boss for play time when the tournament kicks off.
- Thomas Partey - Ghana
The Atletico Madrid midfielder will be one of the key players to look out for in the Back Stars team at the tournament. The 26-year old was nominated for the BBC African Footballer of the Year as well as made the CAF Best XI for the year 2018.
- Kalidou Koulibaly- Senegal
The dependable defender will be at the heart of defence for the Terenga Lions of Senegal. Koulibaly has been consistent with his performances at club level with Napoli and the national team. His performances earned him a nomination in the 2018 BBC African Footballer of the Year award
By Herbert BOAKYE YIADOM