Sadio Mane and Osimhen spearhead list of 5 players to watch at AFCON 2023

Victor Osimhen and Sadio Mane lead a star-studded team to look out for at AFCON. (Photo Credit: Imago)

Sadio Mane and Osimhen spearhead list of 5 players to watch at AFCON 2023

Izuchukwu Akawor 06:45 - 10.01.2024

Sadio Mane and Senegal are the defending champions of the AFCON, while Nigeria's Victor Osimhen is the 2023 African Player of the Year.

In just three days, the stars will align as the Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON2023, kicks off the showcase of the continent’s biggest footballing superstars. 

Leading what would be a star-studded lineup are Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen and his counterpart from Senegal, the newly wedded Sadio Mane

AFCON2023: 5 players to watch

With Ivory Coast set to be home to African football stars for the next few weeks, here are five of the biggest expected to light up the AFCON2023.

Sadio Mane (Senegal)

The Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia winger will be in a good mood heading into the AFCON, having just tied the knot with his childhood sweetheart, Aisha Tamba.

Sadio Mane and his newly wedded wife Aisha Tamba
Sadio Mane and his newly wedded wife Aisha Tamba | Instagram: @magvision_evens_officiel

Mane, 31, will once again carry the hopes of his nation, Senegal, as they look to repeat what they did in the 2021 edition hosted by Cameroon.

For the first time in their history, the Teranga Lions emerged as African champions, with the former Bayern Munich and Liverpool man the obvious star of the tournament.

Senegal captain Sadio Mane with the 2021 Senegal captain Sadio Mane with the 2021 AFCON trophyAFCON trophy | Imago
Senegal captain Sadio Mane with the 2021 AFCON trophy | Imago

Victor Osimhen (Nigeria)

The last 12 months have seen the SSC Napoli icon conquer not just Italy with his club but also Africa, albeit on a personal note.

Osimhen led Napoli to its first Serie A title in 33 years, with his performance playing a vital role in his rise to the top of African football as the new king -Player of the Year.

African Player of the Year, Victor Osimhen.
African Player of the Year, Victor Osimhen, with his coveted award. (Photo Credit: CAF/X)

The 25-year-old will be looking for the biggest one yet, leading his nation, Nigeria, and the Super Eagles to a first AFCON title in 10 years to cement his place as a national hero.

Mohammed Kudus (Ghana)

The latest sensation from Africa in the most popular league in Europe, the English Premier League. 

Mohammed Kudus will hope to inspire Ghana in Ivory Coast.
Mohammed Kudus will hope to inspire Ghana in Ivory Coast. | Imago

West Ham United’s signing of the summer, Kudus, will be Ghana’s hope as the Black Stars look to banish the memories of their last outing in the competition.

The 23-year-old’s speed, dribbling and eyes for goals, which have captured the imagination in the PL, will be the light that Ghana needs in Ivory Coast. 

Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

This list would be incomplete without a mention of a player who has proven reliable for club and country.

Mohamed Salal will lead Egypt hoping to go a step further this time.

Mo Salah will return to the AFCON hoping to go one step further after leading the Pharaohs to the final in the last edition.

The Liverpool legend remains the most recognisable Egyptian heading into the AFCON, where Mo has shone in the last three finals.

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Sehrou Guirassy (Guinea)

The last but not the least is a player who makes this list based on his current form.

Guinea’s Sehrou Guirassy has lit up the Bundesliga and Europe with his goals for VFB Stuttgart this season. 

Serhou Guirassy, Stuttgart forward
Serhou Guirassy, Stuttgart forward has been in red-hot form this season. || Imago

With 17 goals and one assist in 14 matches, it’s difficult to mention five players without the 27-year-old whose goalscoring prowess could make his Syli Nationale a legit Darkhorse in the AFCON2023. 

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