Sunday, 10th December 2023

5 rising stars of African football, according to 1xBet

The global betting company 1xBet, the Confederation of African Football's official partner, sums up the season with a story about the main football hopes of the continent. Mohammed Kudus, Ghana In the 2019/20 season, the young Ghanaian striker scored 11 goals in the Danish league and went from Nordsjælland to Ajax for 9 million euros.…

The global betting company 1xBet, the Confederation of African Football’s official partner, sums up the season with a story about the main football hopes of the continent.

Mohammed Kudus, Ghana

In the 2019/20 season, the young Ghanaian striker scored 11 goals in the Danish league and went from Nordsjælland to Ajax for 9 million euros. Since the days of Nwankwo Kanu and Finidi George, the Amsterdam club has helped reveal many African footballers’ talents. Still, the very young Kudus could only become the main one in the 2022/23 season – injuries, great competition and lack of experience interfered.

This season, the bright dribbler again scored 11 goals, but already in the Eredivisie. He also played well at the World Cup in Qatar and showed himself in the Champions League, where he scored 4 goals. Kudus scored against each of Ajax’s group stage rivals – Rangers, Liverpool and Napoli suffered. After that, world publications reported that Kudus’ contract with Ajax is until 2025, and the player does not plan to renew it.

This means that in the summer of 2023, Mohammed will almost certainly be in one of the 5 strongest European championships. Interest in him is attributed to Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Newcastle, while Manchester United is considered the favorite in the fight for the player – after all, Mancunians manager Eric ten Hag knows Kudus very well from his work at Ajax.

Gift Orban, Nigeria

On March 15, 2023, Nigerian Gent’s striker Gift Orban entered his name in the history of European football. In the Conference League match against Istanbul Bashahsehir, the 20-year-old scored the fastest hat-trick in the history of UEFA club competitions – it took him only 3 minutes and 25 seconds to ensure his team a convincing victory.

Gift came to Europe only in 2022, starting performances in the second division of the Norwegian championship. 16 goals in 22 matches for Stabaek helped the team break into the Eliteserien, and the striker received an offer from the Belgian club. As part of Gent, he scored 20 goals in all tournaments, and these 6 months will likely be the last for a player in the Buffalos.

The player says he dreams of playing in the Premier League, and this summer, there will definitely be clubs in the world’s strongest league that will be ready to pay a substantial amount for Orban. Such a scorer will be a great gift for fans of any team.

Amad Diallo, Ivory Coast

Unlike previous players on our talent list, Diallo is already playing in England. Moreover, he signed a contract with a top club in 2021, when the Ivorian, who had barely managed to gain a foothold in the adult Atalanta team, came with a tight wallet of Manchester United.

Diallo moved to Italy as a child and in 2019 became the first player born in 2002 to make his debut in Serie A. He was considered one of Atalanta’s main hopes, but 25 million euros and another 15 million possible bonuses quickly convinced the Italian club to part with the talented player. In the new club, although Amad scored in the first season against Milan in the Europa League, he almost did not get a chance to gain a foothold in the base. In 2022, he managed to go on loan to the Scottish Rangers and then went to Sunderland.

However, the appearance of Amad transformed the team: it claimed to be in the Premier League but could not get past Luton in the playoff series. Diallo has scored 14 goals and, unlike Sunderland, will almost certainly start the new season in the Premier League. Will he return to Manchester, or will the club let him adapt to a new level in a team with lesser goals?

Nicolas Jackson, Senegal

In the 2021/22 season, Villarreal was literally one-half away from reaching the Champions League final, but Liverpool held on and then hit back. “Yellow Submarine” could not qualify for the main European Cup and through La Liga, became only 7th. The club expected that in the new season, it would be able to regain its place in the top 4, but this did not happen – the team finished only 5th. At the same time, the club revealed the talent of the young Senegalese striker Nicolas Jackson, who became the team’s top scorer with 12 goals. And if he played in the championship not 26 matches, but at least 7-8 games more – who knows, perhaps we would now be talking about the chances of Jackson and his partners in the next season of the Champions League.

Jackson joined Villarreal in 2020, but it took him 2 years to establish himself in the first team. His success in the first part of the season helped not only to get into the Senegal national team (interestingly, Nicholas himself was born in the Gambia) for the World Cup but also attracted the attention of the English Bournemouth. A transfer fee of £22.5m was agreed, but an injury forced him to stay in Spain and take full advantage of his chance. This summer, Jackson may be in a more status club.

Pape Matar Sarr, Senegal

An up-and-coming Tottenham midfielder, who this season began to appear in the first team. The player attracted the attention of Spurs with performances in the French Metz, from where he moved to London in 2021, only to immediately go on loan to the same French club. Alas, Antonio Conte is not too fond of messing around with young players, no matter how talented they may be.

But now the Italian is gone, and Sarr has a big opportunity. The player is reliable when passing (the percentage of accuracy in the Premier League is over 90), efficient and technical enough not to be afraid of the opponent’s pressure. In the last game of the 2022-23 season, he provided his first Premier League assist in a rout against Leeds.

At the end of 2022, Sarr was named the best young player in Africa. Perhaps he will claim a similar award among adults in a few years.

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