With just 3 days to the start of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament, here is a list of the top stars expected to grace the big stage for their respective national teams.
The following enlisted players have been selected based on their performance for both club and country in the just ended 2018/2019 season. Their impact at club level has been highly taken into account in determining where they have been placed.
Scroll through and find out why you cannot afford to miss the 2019 AFCON which will be starting on Friday, June 2019.
- Mohammed Salah- Egypt
Egypt’s Mohammed Salah is obviously the biggest star to play at the 2019 AFCON. The Liverpool attacker is currently the reigning Africa Player of the Year which he beat Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Gabon’s Pierre Emerick Aubamenyang to win. Has is coming off a season where he won the Uefa Champions League with his English Premier League side. He scored 22 goals in 38 matches this season in the just ended season and will be the go-to guy for the Pharaohs at the tournament.
- Sadio Mane- Senegal
The Senegalese arguably enjoyed his best season with EPL side Liverpool in the 2018/2019 season, putting up some fantastic performances to help them clinch the UEFA Champions League in the process. Having scored 22 goals 38 matches for his club in the season gone by, he will be key for Senegal who are one of the favorites to lift the 2019 AFCON.
- Naby Keita-Guinea
Naby Keita is notably the biggest player in Guinea and will headline the squad at this year’s tournament. The Liverpool midfielder has matured in the past year since moving to the Merseyside club and despite still nursing an injury, he 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 Morocco international had a good season with Ajax both in the Champions League and the Eredivisie. He played 29 matches and scored 16 goals with 13 assists in the Eredivisie last season. In the Champions League he scored five goals for his club.
- Nicolas Pepe- Ivory Coast
Nicolas Pepe, the nibble footed French-Ivorian footballer will be one of the key players to watch at this year’s AFCON. He enjoyed an incredible 2018/2019 season with Lille where he scored 22 goals in 38 matches. The pacey attacker will definitely cause havoc to defenders at this year’s tournament should he replicate his form.
- Alex Iwobi- Nigeria
Alex Iwobi is still improving as a player but his qualities as an attacking player is not something that can be overlooked. The Arsenal midfielder sands out of the Super Eagles team that will be challenging for the continental glory in Egypt. This will be his debut season at the AFCON and he will be hoping to make it count to make his country proud.
- 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 midfield dynamo is a regular starter for Atlético de Madrid and is surely going to be one of the poster boys for this summer’s Africa Cup of Nations. The 25-year-old tends to play a more attacking role for Ghana than he does for Diego Simeone at Atletico. Whiles he is expected to play in midfield, much is going to be expected of him especially when Ghana badly wants to lift the trophy.
- Kalidou Koulibaly- Senegal
The ever-dependable Napoli Center back, Kalidou Koulibaly will be at the heart of the defense for the Terenga Lions of Senegal, protecting a star-studded attack in their bid to conquer the rest of Africa. He has been consistent with his performances at club level with Napoli, as well as the national team.