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Five players to watch as AFCON kicks off today


African’s most prestigious competition, biennial men’s Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, kicks off today in Egypt.

Egypt 2019 promises to be among the most spectacular tournaments yet, boasting new stadia, elite squads and huge audiences.

We look at some of the players to look out for at the tournament.

Mohammed Salah

Mohammed Saleh…set to win the CAF African player of the world award

Playing at home in front of fans that adore him, Salah’s definitely going to have a great tournament with Egypt. His club season was great, maybe not as good as his first season with Liverpool but he is a Champions League winner and a joint Premier League highest goal scorer. There are pace, trickery, dead-eye finishing and loud fans that will aid him.

Wilfred Ndidi

Soccer Football – International Friendly – Nigeria vs Serbia – The Hive Stadium, London, Britain – March 27, 2018 Nigeria’s Wilfred Ndidi Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

Ndidi’s quality is undebatable. He is a top tackler and an intelligent reader of the game. He was in the top three tacklers in Europe’s top five leagues, averaging 3.8 tackles per game. He is a vital cog in the Super Eagles midfield offering grit and mobility.

Baghdad Bounedjah

2016 Rio Olympics – Soccer – Preliminary – Men’s First Round – Group D Honduras v Algeria – Olympic Stadium – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 04/08/2016. Baghdad Bounedjah (L) (ALG) of Algeria carries the ball after scoring a goal over keeper Luis Lopez (C) (HON) of Honduras and Marcelo Pereira (L) (HON) of Honduras. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger 

28-year-old Algerian striker who scored more than Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski and Edison Cavani in 2018 will be looking to have a national silverware either with the team or as an individual.

Andre Onana

Soccer Football – Champions League Semi Final First Leg – Tottenham Hotspur v Ajax Amsterdam – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain – April 30, 2019 Ajax’s Andre Onana in action Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

Cameroon are blessed with two of the best goalkeepers on the continent in Onana and Fabrice Ondoa. But Onana looks to edge it in the race between the sticks. He was a mainstay in the Ajax side that got to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Sadio Mane

Senegal’s forward Sadio Mane takes part in a training session on June 26, 2018 in Kaluga ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup fooball match against Colombia. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO

Mane is coming off an amazing club campaign where he finished joint top-scorer in the Premier League, won the Champions League and was nominated for the PFA award. Mane has been phenomenal in every sense but the hope is that he will be able to translate the performance at his club to his Senegal?

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