Monday, June 17, 2024

6 African Football Stars Competing Against Senegalese Superstar Mane in Ivory Coast for AFCON 2023

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By: Dawda Baldeh

As the African continent eagerly awaited the kickoff of 2023 African Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, here is a list of six African football stars who will compete against defending champions Senegal, led by Sarjo Mane, for the trophy in the 34th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on 13th January 2024.

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The final match of this competition is scheduled to take place on February 11, 2024, in Abidjan.

Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian football superstar and one time premier league winner, will captain his team in this 34th edition of the continental tournament, aiming to end Egypt’s 14-year wait for the trophy.

Sallah has experienced previous defeats against the Taranga Lions of Senegal in the 2022 AFCON final in Yaounde, Cameroon, and in the World Cup Qualifier in Qatar in a thrilling penalty shootout.

Egypt has been strong competitors in recent AFCON tournaments, becoming winners in 2006, 2008, and 2010, while also being runners-up in 2017 and the 2021 edition.

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However, they were eliminated by Senegal in the 2022 final in Cameroon.

Victor Osimhen, the talented Nigerian player, also aims to make an impact in this tournament.

While he missed the 2021 edition due to Covid-19 and injury, his recent recognition as the African Footballer of the Year brings hope for Nigeria to win its first title since 2013.

Osimhen has established himself as one of Europe’s top forwards, finishing as the leading scorer in Serie A last season while playing for Napoli.

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Another contender is Serhou Guirassy of Guinea, who experienced a dramatic defeat against Gambia in last year’s AFCON.

Guirassy has shown his scoring prowess with Stuttgart, scoring 15 goals in his first 10 matches in the German Bundesliga.

This will be his first AFCON tournament since making his debut for Guinea in March 2022.

Mohammed Kudus, representing Ghana, hopes to avoid a repeat of their group-stage exit in the 2021 Nations Cup.

In the qualifying matches, Kudus was Ghana’s top scorer with 3 goals, and his performance for West Ham United in the Premier League has been promising since his move to the club in August.

With Kudus’s contribution and despite a tough match against Egypt, Ghana aims to regain its position in African football.

Issa Kabore, the attacking right-back of Burkina Faso, was recognized as the best young player at the 2021 AFCON before his team lost in the semifinals to Senegal.

Despite being part of Manchester City, Kabore is still waiting for his debut for the club.

Lastly, Azzedine Ounahi of Morocco, a midfielder with impressive box-to-box performances at the World Cup last year, secured a move to Marseille following his notable impact.

However, Ounahi did not participate in Morocco’s sole World Cup qualifier in November and is striving to return to his remarkable form seen in Qatar.

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