AFCON 2019: Young Stars To Watch In Egypt

Young Stars to Watch at Egypt 2019

This African Cup of Nations is one that perhaps, parades the highest number of African Football Stars but here are a few young talents to keep your eyes on when the competition begins in Egypt.

  • Amadou Haidara (Mali)

    He currently plays for RB Leipzig in the German Bundesliga.  The Malian team are proud to have Haidara, a central midfielder with quick surging runs into attacking spaces as well as good combative ability in terms of going into tackles. He was part of the RB Salzburg team that won the UEFA Youth League in 2017. He is so good that he was named in the Inaugural Kopy Trophy final 10-man shortlist for best players under the age of 21 in 2018.

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  • Noussair Mazraoui (Morocco)

    Ajax Amsterdam had a phenomenal season this year in the domestic league and in the UEFA Champions League especially, and for a player to be recognized by the team as the Talent of the Year speaks volume of the exceptional and amazing qualities of that player; Noussair Mazraoui. Born to Moroccan parents, the twenty-one year old is one of the fastest-rising defenders in the world. He can play as a right back as well as a central midfielder which was his position when he was playing for the Reserves at Ajax. He might just be an integral part of the Moroccan squad.

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  • Assanne DiousseTwenty-one years old and already one of the finest prospects of Senegalese football. He is a defensive midfielder. He made his debut for the National Team on 14th November 2017 against South Africa in a World Cup Qualifying match. On loan from French Ligue 1 side Saint Etienne, the twenty-one year old had twelve league appearances for Chievo Verona last season.

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  • Samuel Chukwueze (Nigeria)

    One of the features that make the Super Eagles of Nigeria unique is the availability of fast-paced wingers that not only give width to the pitch but also have mesmerizing skills and pace that torments the defense line of the opposing team throughout the duration of a match and Samuel Chukwueze at 20, dosen’t lack any of these qualities. The twenty year old had a tremendous season with Spanish La Liga side Villarreal, helping them to survive relegation and getting to the Quarter-final of the UEFA Europa League. He had twenty-six league appearances this season with five goals.

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  • Henry Onyekuru (Nigeria)

    With sixteen goals in forty-four appearances for Galatasaray this season, Henry Onyekuru is one of the finest forwards for Nigeria at the moment. He is a dynamic winger/forward whose mesmerizing skills, pace and goal-scoring ability set him apart from others. Unlike some of his young teammates in the Super Eagles, he didn’t feature for any National Youth Team before earning his first call up to the Super Eagles team in May 2017. However, the former graduate of Aspire Academy has been very consistent in front of goal since his days on loan at Eupen and Anderlecht in the Belgian League.

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  • Achraf Hakimi (Morocco)

    He is a right fullback but can also play as a central defender and a leftback because of his physique and ability to give long-range passes. He is quick on the ball and very offensive. He is currently on loan at Borussia Dortmund where he had an impressive season. Born in the city of Madrid to Moroccan Parents on the 4th November 1998, he was part of the Real Madrid team that won the UEFA Champions League in 2017-2018 season, making him the first Moroccan player to win the title.

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  • Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria)

    Ndidi is a defensive midfielder with great tackling abilities and aerial prowess in terms of attack and defense. His ability to break up opposition play especially puts him among one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. He has a 65%-tackle success rate and three hundred and seven (307) aerial battles won in the Premier League. Ndidi has made twenty-four appearances for the Super Eagles and will look to add, at least, decent performances to those numbers going into the Nations Cup.

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  • Moussa Wague (Senegal)

    Moussa Wague plays for Barcelona’s second team although he has gotten a number of games for the senior team. He is a right fullback with brilliant tackling abilities and a decent burst of runs going forward. He currently plays as a right fullback but can also be deployed at right wingback position as a result of his ability to join attacks and his defense recovery ability. Wague’s goal for Senegal against Japan at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia made him the youngest African to score at the World Cup at the age of nineteen. He has fourteen appearances with the National Team and has a goal to his name.

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  • Franck Kessie (Ivory Coast)

    He is a box-to-box midfielder with good attacking and defensive abilities. He is known for his good stamina on the ball and a strong physique.  He is perfectly suited to play beside a “Regista” (a deep-lying creative midfielder with great vision, ball control and accurate passing abilities) to help in mopping up and stopping opposition attacking plays around him. A product of Cote D’ivoire’s youth ranks, Kessie made his first international appearance with the Senior National Team on 6th September 2014, starting in a 2–1 home win against Sierra Leone for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification and so far, he has made twenty-six appearances for the team.

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  • Samuel Kalu (Nigeria)

    The Bordeaux winger is known for his attacking runs and how he exploits spaces behind opposing teams defense line. His dynamic style of play gives the coach a variety of options as regards where to play him. He can either play on the left or right of attack or as a right midfielder. Samuel Kalu will be making his first appearance in the Nations Cup this summer and Nigerians look forward to his performance en-route to what could be Nigeria’s fourth Nations Cup title.

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So many young players have made names for themselves at this level and gone on to have wonderful careers. Austin Okocha, Samuel Eto’o Fils and Solomon Kalou are just a few names in such category. So this Nations Cup will be a very good platform for young stars to show themselves to the world as Africa hopes to witness the emergence of its new generation of superstars.


*Images Source : Google Images & Getty Images

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