Top 10 African Players to Watch at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Tournament

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations promises to showcase the continent's finest footballing talents, shining a spotlight on players who are not just stars domestically, but also command international acclaim. Amidst the expected fervor and competitive edge, certain players stand as beacons of skill and potential, ready to etch their names in the annals of football history. Here’s a list of the top ten African players to watch at this prestigious tournament. 1. Mohammed Salah (Egypt) As the talismanic figure for both Liverpool FC and the Egyptian national team, Mohammed Salah's reputation precedes him. Known for his incredible speed, precision, and knack for goal-scoring, Salah is a player who can single-handedly influence the course of a game.

Mo Salah in action for Liverpool FC
2. Silas Mvupa Katompa (Congo DR) Silas Mvupa Katompa, previously playing for VfB Stuttgart, has shown promising skills as a forward. With a strong presence and the capacity to navigate through defenses, he might be Congo's answer to the tournament's puzzles.
 Silas in action for VfB Stuttgart

3. Mohammed Kudus (Ghana) The young and versatile player, Mohammed Kudus, from West Ham United, has attracted attention due to his technical skills and vision. His participation could provide a spark in Ghana's midfield or attack.
                                                                     Mohammed Kudus of West Ham United

4. Victor Boniface (Nigeria) Victor Boniface of Nigeria, who plays for Bayer 04 Leverkusen, has rapidly established himself as a major sensation for Nigerian supporters in 2023. Bursting onto the international scene with the Super Eagles, Boniface debuted impressively during the 6-0 triumph over Sao Tome and Principe. His exceptional performances in Europe have not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by his remarkable feat of clinching the Bundesliga Rookie of the Month award four times in a row. As the Africa Cup of Nations approaches, Boniface is primed to complement Victor Osimhen in the Super Eagles' attack, and he stands poised to leave an indelible impact on the tournament. 5. Achraf Hakimi (Morocco) The Paris Saint-Germain right-back, known for his blistering pace and ability to join the attack, is one of the best in his position globally. Hakimi is essential to Morocco's structure, both offensively and defensively. 6. Serhou Guirassy (Guinea)
As one of the standout forwards in the Bundesliga this campaign, Serhou Guirassy has found the back of the net 17 times, a testament to his goal-scoring prowess. He is set to spearhead the attack for Guinea in the upcoming tournament. Positioned in Group C, Guinea faces a challenging path ahead, sharing the group with the defending champions Senegal and the formidable Cameroon, alongside Gambia, which has qualified for the tournament for only the second time. Guirassy's leadership and scoring ability will be pivotal for the Syli National as they navigate through this tough competition. 7. Issa Kabore (Burkina Faso)
Emerging as a formidable talent in the 2021 tournament, Issa Kabore earned the accolade of being the best young player, in no small part due to his impressive performances that helped propel Burkina Faso into the semifinals. Despite their eventual loss to the champions Senegal, Kabore's standout abilities as a right-back garnered significant attention. As the tournament gears up again, Kabore and his team are set to face off against Algeria, Mauritania, and Angola in Group D, where his defensive skills and contribution to the team's forward momentum will once again be under the spotlight. 8. Pape Mata Sarr (Senegal)
A mere 21 years of age, Pape Mata Sarr has swiftly risen to become a linchpin in Senegal's midfield, reflecting his burgeoning talent and tactical acumen. With an already impressive seventeen international caps to his name, Sarr's influence on the field is beyond his years. His proficiency has also shone through at Tottenham Hotspur, where he has been a prominent figure in the starting lineup, featuring in fourteen of the club's eighteen Premier League games to date. Known for his solid defensive capabilities and his finesse with the ball at his feet, Sarr excels in initiating play with confidence and composure. As Senegal sets its sights on retaining their title at the AFCON tournament, Sarr's contributions in the heart of the midfield are set to be a pivotal element in the success of The Lions of Teranga. 9. Victor Osimhen (Nigeria) Napoli's forward, Victor Osimhen, carries the reputation of being one of the most formidable strikers heading into the AFCON tournament. At just 24, the Nigerian international has secured his spot among the elite in European football, encapsulated by his sensational run as Serie A's top scorer. His pivotal role in leading Napoli to their first Italian title since 1990 has only bolstered his profile. As he prepares to represent the Super Eagles, his presence on the pitch is expected to send ripples of anticipation and fear across the defenses of rival teams. Nigeria's Group A challenge will see them pitted against the hosts Ivory Coast, alongside Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, where Osimhen's goal-scoring prowess will undoubtedly be a key factor in their campaign.
Victor Osimhen will be in action for Nigeria at AFCON 2023

10. Yves Bissouma (Mali)
Yves Bissouma, the dynamic midfielder from Mali who dons the jersey for Tottenham Hotspur, has seen a significant shift in his playing career this season. Despite having only 10 starts in the Premier League in the previous year, Bissouma's form has flourished under the guidance of Ange Postecoglu. With 15 starting appearances for Spurs, he has become an integral part of the midfield for the North London club, often referred to as the Lilywhites. Bissouma is not only a critical player for his club but also a towering presence in the Malian national team. At 27 years of age, he is poised to showcase his talent and make a substantial impact at the upcoming AFCON tournament. As fans from all corners of the globe turn their eyes towards the Africa Cup of Nations, these players, each with their own unique abilities, will be under the scrutiny of millions. With the stakes ever so high, their performances could define their careers and influence the destiny of their national teams. In conclusion, the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations is not just a display of the best teams in Africa, but also a stage for individual brilliance. The tournament provides an opportunity for these talents to shine and potentially earn career-defining moves to some of the biggest clubs worldwide. As the continent unites in spirit and competition, it's these players that bring the excitement, the drama, and the unforgettable moments that will linger long after the tournament's closing ceremony.

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