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Five CHAN players who could be Europe-bound


Ayoub El Kaabi

The fifth African Nations Championship concluded on Sunday with hosts Morocco thrashing Nigeria 4-0 in the final to claim their first CHAN title.

Not to be confused with the African Cup of Nations, the African Nations Championship only features players who ply their trade domestically, meaning big-name African stars like Yaya Toure or Mo Salah are left at home.

But the tournament is still an opportunity for those who feature to catch the eye and, maybe, earn a big move to a European league.

Here are five players from the 2018 African Nations Championship who could soon be moving to Europe.

Ayoub El Kaabi (Morocco)
The 24-year-old forward finished as the top scorer at the tournament after bagging an impressive nine goals in just five appearances.

El Kaabi netted five in the group stages – two against Mauritania and a hat-trick against Guinea – before grabbing goal number six in the quarter-final win over Namibia.

He followed that up with a brace against Libya in the semi-finals before bagging the fourth against Nigeria in the final.

No-one has ever scored more goals in a single African Nations Championship before and El Kaabi – who plays his club football for RS Berkane – bettered the five Given Singuluma struck for Zambia in 2009.

Sekou Amadou Camara (Guinea)
The highly-rated 20-year-old forward plays his club football for Guinean champions Horoya AC – one of eight Horoya players included in the National Elephants’ squad.

Without Liverpool-bound midfielder Naby Keita, Camara is the West Africans’ star player. However, Guinea flattered to deceive in Morocco and was knocked out in the group stages.

He scored eight times in just four outings in qualification and is best deployed on the shoulder of the last defender to exploit his pace and clinical finishing.

Camara finished with a single goal to his name – scoring in a 2-1 defeat against Sudan – but has seven goals in six caps for his country.

Walid El Karti (Morocco)
The 23-year-old attacking midfielder is seen as one of the most talented players to come out of Morocco in recent years.

El Karti was one of the stars of Casablanca’s 2017 African Champions League final triumph, scoring the winner as the Emperor overcame Egyptian giants Al-Ahly in the final.

Although he has found it difficult to break into the main national team squad, El Karti’s ability is clear and he got the third goal in the 3-1 extra-time win over Libya in the semi-finals.

Despite his heroics in the last month, El Karti faces a fight to be included in Herve Renard’s squad for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.

Gabriel Okechukwu (Nigeria)
Capable of playing through the middle or on either flank, 22-year-old Okechukwu has shown promise as a goalscorer in his fledgling career.

Prolific for Nigeria’s Under-23s, bagging nine in 11 games, Okechukwu has made a similarly impressive start to life for the senior side by scoring twice in four outings.

Okechukwu only made his full debut for the Super Eagles against Equatorial Guinea in the final round of group games, following that up with goals against Angola and Sudan en-route to the final.

Having started out at Water FC, Okechukwu has impressed for TEAP FC, St George’s FC and has had a taste of European football with Ukrainian side Karpaty before moving to current club Akwa United.

Shaba Mohamad (Uganda)
The 21-year-old forward went into the African Nations Championship with some pedigree having top scored at last year’s Under-20 Cosafa Cup as Uganda finished fourth.

However, Mohamad is yet to get off the mark for the senior national side in eight caps, and was part of Uganda’s squad for the 2017 AFCON.

On the domestic scene he caused controversy when he moved to Kampala Capital City Authority in September, leaving Onduparaka for Shs25million (£4,963) on deadline day.

Reports at the time suggested the player had been tapped up. Prior to that he went AWOL after undergoing a trial with South African side SuperSport.

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