The Africa Cup of Nations is one of the toughest competitions and a lot goes into winning one.

The whole of Africa and the world at large sets eyes on a selective group of individuals given the nod by their respective countries.

Ismael Kiyonga | Kawowo Sports Hakim Ziyechi

It’s never an easy competition and with the expansion to 24 nations, it’s even tougher and hence some players often resort to personal glory.

There are a few individual accolades at stake at Afcon. The MVP is out of the reach for most players as your team must go far in the competition.

Others like Best Goalkeeper and The Best Young Player accolades are restricted to only a small set of all players, and hence, the only individual trophy that can be won solely by performances on the pitch is The Golden Boot and it doesn’t matter how far your team goes.

Kawowo Sports’ Ismael Kiyonga looks at individuals who could vie for the award

Sadio Mane (Senegal)

Caf Sadio Mane

Mane had a fantastic season with Liverpool winning the UEFA Champions League and coming within two points of winning the Premier League.

His 22 goals saw him finish joint top scorer in the PL and thus comes into the tournament full of goals.

The Lions of Teranga have been unlucky in the past but arrive in Egypt in peak conditions and are among favourites to lift the trophy in Cairo on July 19 and Mane, save for the opener against Tanzania where he is suspended, he is destined to start every match for the national side.

The forward is a perfect balance of youthfulness and experience, and so is the Senegal squad traveling to Egypt. Alongside Mane, Senegal boasts of young and talented forwards Keita Balde and Mbaye Niang. Hence, scoring goals, at least, shouldn’t be a problem for them and Mane is the key man.

Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

© Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE Mohammed Salah in action during the AFCON 2017 Group stage

Although the little Egyptian may not be thinking about individual recognition at the moment, he is one of the strongest contenders to lead the goalscoring charts on home soil.

Salah, just like Mane has enjoyed a stellar season and joint top scored in the Premier League and if he needs any more individual fame, a golden boot in the Africa Cup could complete his collection for the season.

Percy Tau (South Africa)

Soccer Laduuma Percy Tau leaves Kone grounded during the qualifiers

He may not be the most prolific forwards of the generation but Tau knows his way around defences and goalkeepers. The key to the Golden Boot in knockout competitions like the Africa Cup is essentially having an easy group and a reliable side which can advance to at least the last eight.

Although Bafana Bafana are in a tough group with Ivory Coast and Morocco the main threats, Tau can do the job as he stood out in the qualifiers

Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)

Ismael Kiyonga | Kawowo Sports Hakim Ziyechi

The Netherlands born attacker will be playing at his first major international tournament after being overlooked for the 2017 edition.

At 26, he comes into the tourney at the peak of his career and enjoyed a very good season with Ajax Amsterdam helping them reach the last four of the UEFA Champions League.

His goal ratio for Morocco is also amazing with 14 in 25 caps and the Egypt edition provides him a chance to show what he is made of.

Cedric Bakambu (DR Congo)

Ismael Kiyonga | Kawowo Sports Cedric Bakambu

The former France youth international didn’t have the best of tournaments in Gabon but Egypt 2019 provides an opportunity to silence doubters.

A proven goal scorer with pace and size, Bakambu comes into the tournament on the back of scoring 23 goals in 28 games in China and scored the winner against Liberia that sealed the Leopards place for Egypt.

With Tresor Mputu, Yannick Bolasie and Elia Meschak among others in DR Congo attack, Bakambu has the players to create goals.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Expecting someone who was born outside Africa & has never favourably competed in an international tournament is a lie basing on how Europe based players have failed to deliver on African soil in history. e.g Weah, Yeboah, Drogba, Grobelar, etc

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