AFCON, the biennial football tournament on the African continent starts in a few days.
Twenty-four teams have been drawn in six groups of four for the 32nd edition of the continent’s flagship football tournament.
This year’s competition will see three debutants from Burundi, Mauritania and Madagascar and Zimbabwe returning to the elite African competition after a long absence.
The beauty of this competition is the parading of national heroes to represent their countries and fight for glory. The competition has seen stars like Abedi Pele, Michael Essien, Yaya Toure, Okocha, Roger Milla, Aboutrika, Steven Pienaar amongst others
This year’s competition will also see some stars seeking for glory on the continent following their stint in their various European clubs.
Now meet the top 10 players who are the stars to watch in the 2019 AFCON tournament hosted by Egypt.
Mohamed Salah (Egypt)
The Liverpool star enters the 2019 AFCON with his brilliant form in the English Premier League after scoring a total of 22goals and joint top scorer with counterpart Sadio Mane and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. Salah also have scored 5 goals in the UEFA Champions League. He finished second with Liverpool in the Premier league and went ahead to win the Champions league in Madrid on June 1, 2019 when he scored a penalty to give Liverpool a head start 2 minutes into the game.
Sadio Mane (Senegal)
The Senegal international just like his compatriot at Liverpool Mo Salah managed a total of 22 goals in the EPL and also has 4 goals in the UCL.
Nicolas Pepe(Ivory Coast)
The Lille star will be looking forward to this year’s competition after completing the season in the French Ligue Un with 20 goals and eleven assists in all competitions. The 23-year-old will be looking forward for his debut in the AFCON.
Thomas Partey (Ghana)
The Atletico Madrid star will be looking forward to another AFCON after an impressive season with the Madrid giants. He scored a total of 3 goals all season and assisted 5 times in a competition. He will be looking forward to manning the midfield for the Black Stars when they face their opponents in the competition.
Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)
The 26-year-old Ajax star has been in terrific form as he stirred Ajax into the semifinals of the UCL and winning a domestic double with Ajax after they won the league and the league cup respectively. He contributed a total of 22 goals and assisted 16 times in all competition including two goals in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers.
Yacin Brahimi (Algeria)
The skillful left footed winger will be looking forward to dribbling his Algerian side to glory this year after having a sterling season in the Portuguese League. He contributed a total of 13 goals and 9 assists in all competitions for FC Porto.
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)
The left footed winger will be looking forward to another trophy after winning the EPL with Manchester City. The star player who scored his countries first goal of the AFCON two years ago against Zimbabwe will be looking forward to contributing more goals for his nation. Although the starman hadn’t had enough playtime with City playing only 47 time with most of it being from the bench .
Odion Ighalo (Nigeria)
The qualifiers top goal scorer and Nigeria’s target man. The former Watford striker has already hit the ground running in the Chinese Super League with 7 goals in 9 games so far this season. He ended the AFCON with 7 goals beating Fiston Abdul Razak of Burundi who had 6 goals.
Moussa Marega (Mali)
The 28-year-old who plies his trade in Portugal with FC Porto will be looking to bulldozer Mali into glory as he will be looking to lead the attack for The Eagles. The big centre forward contributed 21 goals and 9 assists in all competitions for Porto who sits second on the Portuguese League.
André Onana (Cameroon)
The 23-year-old Ajax starlet stands out in a long list of Cameroonian players who have performed incredibly well across the length and breadth of the world. The versatile goalkeeper conceded 41 goals across all competitions and kept a total of 22 clean sheets with 15 being in the domestic league and 7 in the UCL.
Author: Bernard Esar