The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations will be hosted in Ivory Coast from January 13 to February 11, featuring some of the prominent figures in global football. AFP Sport selects five players worth keeping an eye on during the tournament:
- MOHAMED SALAH (Egypt)
- A key figure in the English Premier League with Liverpool, 31-year-old Salah is a renowned star not only in England but also across the Arab world.
- With 14 goals this Premier League season, his absence during the AFCON could potentially impact Liverpool’s title race, but Salah aims to lead Egypt to victory after previous final losses in 2017 and 2022.
- VICTOR OSIMHEN (Nigeria)
- Named the African player of the year in 2023, Osimhen’s form led Napoli to a Serie A title, though he’s faced a slight dip in goal-scoring this season.
- His absence due to injury and COVID in past AFCON tournaments is something Osimhen seeks to overcome and make a significant impact for Nigeria.
- SADIO MANE (Senegal)
- After being instrumental in Senegal’s maiden AFCON victory in 2022, Mane faced setbacks with injuries and a move to Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League.
- Despite questions about his form, Mane remains a crucial player for Senegal and aims to maintain his impactful performance at the continental level.
- SERHOU GUIRASSY (Guinea)
- Even though Guinea faces tough competition in their group, Guirassy’s exceptional form in the German Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart, scoring 19 goals in 16 games, makes him a player to watch.
- Transitioning his club success to the international stage will be crucial for Guirassy’s impact on Guinea’s performance.
- ACHRAF HAKIMI (Morocco)
- The dynamic right-back from Paris Saint-Germain is a linchpin in Morocco’s top-ranked African team, renowned for his attacking prowess.
- Expected to contribute significantly to Morocco’s aspirations, Hakimi’s form and fitness will play a vital role in their pursuit of their first AFCON title since 1976.
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