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Getting Ready for AFCON: Stars to Watch

Getting Ready for AFCON: Stars to Watch

All eyes will be on the AFCON 2024 set to be held for the second time in the Ivory Coast starting this January 13. A total of 24 teams will be competing for a place in the finals in Alassane Ouattara Stadium on February 11, in a tournament that could be determined by the available stars. Senegal are the defending champions, and once again they will be led by a galaxy of stars, including Sadio Mane, while Napoli and Liverpool hotshots Victor Osimhen and Mohammed Salah will lead Nigeria and Egypt respectively.

There is a lot at stake even for betting fans, as 1xBet has lined up plenty of action for the month-long event. Fans can get themselves acquainted with a thing or two about everything there is to know on the betting platform, including how to withdraw money from 1xBet, and expert tips on how to bet on the AFCON.

Star Players to Watch

It will be another battle of stars, as all participating teams have named strong sides for the tournament. We will look at some of the top names set to grace the event.

#1. Victor Osimhen – Nigeria

Guiding Nigeria’s AFCON quest is the current African Footballer of the Year, Victor Osimhen. At 24, he played a key role in Napoli’s Serie A win last season, scoring 26 goals. With 20 goals in 27 appearances for his country, he will be the man to lead the Super Eagles in their search for their fourth AFCON title.

#2. Mohammed Salah – Egypt

Mohamed Salah faced heartbreaks in the 2017 and 2022 AFCON tournaments, and is determined to redeem himself as Egypt targets their eighth title, the first since 2010. Having lost in two finals, including a painful penalty shootout loss to Senegal in 2022, Salah is a hungry man ready to correct the past. He has started the season well for Liverpool, and the 31-year-old forward is eager to add international success to his impressive honors.

#3. Achraf Hakimi – Morocco

Achraf Hakimi, PSG’s right-back, played a crucial role in Morocco’s historic 2022 World Cup journey, reaching the semi-finals and impressively converting a Panenka penalty against Spain. Now, the focus shifts to replicating success in AFCON. Morocco’s only AFCON triumph was in 1976, with their last final appearance in 2004. With Hakimi leading a talented squad, optimism abounds for the Atlas Lions to make a mark in the upcoming tournament.

#4. Sadio Mane – Senegal

Two years ago, Mane earned the Man of the Competition award, turning the tide from ‘zero to hero’ in the AFCON final against Egypt. Despite missing a penalty influenced by Salah’s advice, Mane redeemed himself with the winning spot-kick, securing Senegal’s first AFCON triumph.

After an unsuccessful short stint at Bayern Munich, Mane joined Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, where he has scored 12 goals. With three recent goals for Senegal, Mane is in top form, ready to lead the title defense in AFCON.

#5. Serhou Guirassy – Guinea

While Harry Kane shines at Bayern Munich, Stuttgart’s Serhou Guirassy is also making waves in Germany. He leaves for national duty with 17 goals, the second-highest scorer behind Kane’s 21. Making his AFCON debut for Guinea, he will be a big loss for Stuttgart. Despite Guinea’s underdog status in Group C with Senegal, Cameroon, and Gambia, the 27-year-old’s outstanding form could be crucial in defying the odds.

To wrap-up

Previous tournaments have produced little-known stars, and the 2024 edition could be no different. Leicester’s Patson Daka was scouted during the AFCON, and so were many others who used the tournament as a stepping stool. There will be so many other players doing their best for their respective countries, with notable mentions including; Riyad Mahrez of Algeria, Sebastian Haller (Ivory Coast), Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon), and Azzedine Ounahi (Morocco), among others.

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Source: Brila

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