The highly anticipated CAF Africa Cup of Nations is set to commence in Ivory Coast, featuring an exciting clash between the hosts and Guinea-Bissau on January 13 at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan. Senegal, the reigning champions, clinched victory in a thrilling penalty shootout against Egypt in the previous edition held in Cameroon. As the continental spectacle approaches, let’s spotlight five standout players poised to make a significant impact on the tournament.
First on our radar is Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen, who soared to football stardom as Serie A’s leading scorer last season, steering Napoli to their first league title since 1990. Osimhen, deprived of a chance at the 2022 Qatar World Cup due to Nigeria’s playoff defeat against Ghana, is gearing up for his inaugural international appearance at AFCON 2023, aiming to continue his prolific goal-scoring form.
Moving on to Ghana, midfielder Mohammad Kudus has made an impressive mark in the Premier League with West Ham, currently ranking 12th for goals per minute. Kudus’ dynamic playstyle is anticipated to bring added quality to Ghana’s formidable forward line, featuring the Ayew brothers and Inaki Williams.
In the Moroccan camp, the spotlight is on Hakim Ziyech, the Chelsea forward currently on loan at Galatasaray. With Morocco touted as the team to beat in AFCON 2023, Ziyech’s goal-scoring prowess is expected to play a pivotal role in their pursuit of success, providing crucial goals and assists to bolster their strategic approach.
For Morocco’s ambitions, Youssef En-Nesyri’s performance in front of goal holds the key. After a standout season with Sevilla FC in LaLiga Santander, En-Nesyri’s responsibility is clear: to lead Morocco’s attack and find the net more regularly, a crucial component in their quest for the AFCON title.
Last but not least, representing Ivory Coast is Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe, their one-time record signing. Despite a modest international goal tally, Pepe’s past contributions, including a decisive goal against defending champions Algeria, hint at his potential to shine. As the tournament unfolds on his home turf, Pepe could play a pivotal role in leading Ivory Coast to a triumphant homecoming in AFCON 2023, adding another chapter to their football legacy.
On that note, Catch the AFCON 2023 matches on Sanyuka Prime and NBS Sport.