Top 10 African Football Stars to Watch in AFCON 2023

Algeria Submits Bid To Host 2025 AFCON

The Love of football will pulsate across Africa in just a few days, as the 34th edition of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023 explodes onto the scene.

From January 13th to February 11th, a dazzling galaxy of African footballing talent will grace the Ivorian turf, ready to unleash their magic on the continent’s grandest football stage. Buckle up, football fans, for this year’s AFCON promises a spectacle of skill, passion, and drama fit for royalty!

Amongst this constellation of stars, ten luminaries stand poised to ignite the tournament and etch their names into AFCON folklore.

  1. The Anointed One: Victor Osimhen (Nigeria, 25)

Freshly anointed as the Best African Player of the Year, Victor Osimhen arrives in Côte d’Ivoire draped in the shimmering cloak of continental acclaim. His lethal finishing and ferocious power spearhead Nigeria’s fearsome attack, a responsibility he shoulders with the confidence of a true champion. The entire continent waits with bated breath to see if Osimhen can translate his club-level excellence onto the AFCON stage, leading the Super Eagles to their first title since 2013.

  1. The Lion Tamer: Sadio Mané (Senegal, 31)

The man who roared Senegal to AFCON glory in 2022 returns, seeking to extend his reign as king of the jungle. While his recent move to Saudi Arabia raised eyebrows, Mané’s predatory instincts remain undimmed. His mesmerizing dribbling and unerring composure still inspire awe, making him the talismanic leader on whom the Lions of Teranga pin their hopes of a historic double.

  1. The Pharaoh’s Jewel: Mohamed Salah (Egypt, 31)

A Liverpool legend and scorer supreme, Mohamed Salah needs no introduction. Every weekend, he paints the Premier League with goals, and at AFCON, he dons the mantle of Egypt’s captain with an equally regal touch. His leadership and pinpoint accuracy were instrumental in Egypt’s flawless qualifying campaign. Can Salah, the Pharaoh’s jewel, finally lead his nation to continental glory after their agonizing near misses in recent editions?

  1. The Mercurial Wizard: Mohammed Kudus (Ghana, 23)

Like a bolt of lightning streaking across the English Premier League, Mohammed Kudus has electrifying West Ham United with his explosive pace, dazzling skill, and unerring eye for goal. Already boasting seven “man of the match” accolades this season, the 23-year-old Ghanaian sensation stands on the cusp of greatness. This AFCON offers him the perfect platform to propel himself, and hopefully Ghana, towards a long-awaited fifth continental crown.

  1. The Homecoming Hero: Sébastien Haller (Côte d’Ivoire, 30)

For Sébastien Haller, this AFCON holds a special resonance. Playing on home soil, cheered by adoring Ivorian fans who took him to their hearts from the moment he donned the Elephants’ jersey, this tournament is a deeply personal affair. At 30, Haller has reached his footballing zenith, and he craves to leave an indelible mark on Africa’s biggest spectacle, a true homecoming hero for a nation hungry for success.

  1. Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon, 31): The Indomitable Lionheart

He wears the captain’s armband with the weight of history on his shoulders. Vincent Aboubakar, the seasoned predator, has seen Cameroon roar to glory and tasted the bitter sting of defeat. His predatory instincts in the box are legendary, his work ethic an inspiration. But it’s Aboubakar’s unwavering mental fortitude and leadership that truly set him apart. Remember his thunderous equalizer against Egypt in the 2017 final? That’s the lion’s heart beating for a sixth AFCON crown. This year, his roar could echo across Côte d’Ivoire, galvanizing a new generation of Indomitable Lions.

  1. Sehrou Guirassy (Guinea, 27): The Resurrected Phoenix

German soil seems to hold a special magic for Sehrou Guirassy. Once written off, he’s risen from the ashes like a phoenix, blazing a trail of goals in the Bundesliga. His powerful presence in the box, his clinical finishing, and his aerial prowess make him the missing piece in the Syli de Guinée puzzle. Imagine the electrifying link-up play with Amadou Diawara – a Guinean hurricane brewing on the Ivorian turf. Guirassy’s AFCON debut could be a fairytale comeback, one that could propel Guinea to unexpected heights.

  1. Mohamed Amoura (Algeria, 23): The Fennec Maestro

While Algerian giants like Mahrez and Feghouli steal the spotlight, a young maestro waits in the wings. Mohamed Amoura, the midfield conductor, has orchestrated symphonies of success for his Belgian club. His vision, his precise passing, and his ability to dictate tempo hold the key to unlocking the Fennecs’ attacking potential. This AFCON is his stage to step out of the shadows, to weave magic with his feet, and to become the heartbeat of a new Algerian era. Watch him pull the strings, watch the Fennecs waltz to victory – Amoura’s the conductor, the AFCON his grand concert.

  1. Azzedine Ounahi (Morocco, 24): The Atlas Lion Ascending

He shone against footballing giants at the World Cup, dazzling with his nimble footwork and intelligent runs. Now, Azzedine Ounahi returns to the African stage, eager to prove his worth amongst the seasoned Atlas Lions. His technical precision, his eye for a killer pass, and his tireless energy make him a nightmare for any defense. This AFCON is his baptism of fire, his chance to etch his name in Moroccan footballing folklore. Can Ounahi rise to the occasion, can he become the midfield engine that propels the Atlas Lions to continental glory?

  1. Peter Shalulile (Namibia, 30): The Braveheart Warrior

He lifts trophies – that’s what Peter Shalulile does. Fresh off continental and club triumphs, he arrives in Côte d’Ivoire with the weight of a nation’s hopes on his broad shoulders. His predatory instincts in the box, his ability to hold the ball, and his tireless work ethic make him the Brave Warriors’ talisman. Imagine him linking up with the speedy Benson Shilongo, imagine the Namibian fans erupting in joy as Shalulile nets the winner. This AFCON is his chance to write his name in Namibian football history, to be the hero who led the Brave Warriors to their first AFCON victory.

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