Top five youngsters to watch out for at AFCON qualifiers
These players will look to leave their mark on the big stage.
The 2023 CAF Africa U-20 Cup of Nations saw many youngsters make names for themselves and would be hoping to get called up for the 2024 African Cup of Nations but before that, they will have to prove themselves at the AFCON qualifiers. They are also on the line as the most talented young players from around the continent who will compete for three weeks for the trophy.
The 34th version of AFCON, which was originally planned to take place in Ivory Coast from June to July of next year, will instead happen during January and February of 2024.
The following five promising young players are worth keeping a watch on during the upcoming 2023 AFCON qualifiers.
5. Fasistencio Maria Faza Joa: 19-years-old
Fasistencio after playing in Algeria the previous month for African Nations Championship, a tournament exclusively for players based in their individual local leagues, Maria Faza Joao, commonly known by his stage as Fazito, is scheduled to compete in his second foreign event as many weeks.
The young Ferroviario de Nampula goalie will probably highlight one of his key strengths—his skill with the ball—as he seeks to excel in Egypt. Left-footed, Fazito boasts a character as a high achiever and can often be found completing his training with muscular exercise.
In addition to having exceptional reflexes and a developing repertoire that will draw spectators in Egypt, Mozambique is swift in responding between the posts, at ease in the air, and explosive off his line.
4. Daniel Bamaiyi: 19 years old
A player that is always improving is Daniel Bamaiyi. Bamaiyi, who was made captain of the Flying Eagles during their most recent match, a friendly against Zambia, has been given more and more authority within Ladan Bosso’s squad.
The right-footed defender dubbed as “the Major” is renowned for his aerial domination, maturity, and sense of anticipation, and his ability to win one-on-one matches makes him nearly hard to get past.
As he gets ready to be a star for the young team, he is quick, hard-hitting, and endowed with good leaping ability. He is also working on his distribution and will look to improve further at AFCON qualifiers 2023.
3. Ahmed Shereef: 19 years old
Egypt’s U-20 captain, who is the local favourite in our pick, is eager to perform well in front of his countrymen. Ahmed Shereef, who is renowned for his excellent technique, dribbling skills, and quickness, is also a complete striker in any position in front of goal.
With a slick arsenal of moves at his disposal, including a talent for rapid stepovers, he is also able to scatter rivals in his wake. Shereef is the primary player in Mahmoud Gaber’s style without Moustafa Ashraf, and while he often plays on the right of the attack, he is additionally seen to drop deeper and strengthen the defence.
Shereef and his teammates now have the task of matching the accomplishments of their forerunners from 1991, as Egypt won the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations as hosts.
2. Charles Mumba: 18 years old
Charles Mumba is a rare talent with bursts of speed and exceptional vision who can direct the play for his teammates or make a difference on his own.
The Atletico Lusaka midfielder, who was chosen as the tournament’s best player at the 2022 COSAFA (the qualification competition for this Africa U-20 Cup of Nations), distinguishes out due to his exceptional physical qualities and skilled play. Mumba gives the midfield organisation and balance while having the ability to initiate movements and recover possession. He will look to continue his same form at the AFCON qualifiers.
Although just being 18, he is already regarded as a player having true composure on the field. He is able to embrace obligation while maintaining composure and clarity of thought, traits that support his astute understanding of the game.
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1. Samba Diallo: 19 years old
Samba Diallo of Dynamo Kyiv, who led his country in scoring throughout qualification with three goals, appears to be the most recent in a long series of talented Senegal attackers. The Young Lions of Teranga skipper is nearly unbeatable in one-on-one matches and is alert, swift, trick-filled, and capable of turning the tide of a game by himself.
Malick Daf, the coach of Senegal, relies heavily on his special skill set since he mixes quickness and inventiveness while still remaining successful even at full speed.
Diallo, who has a deal with Dynamo through 2026, spent last season competing for the U-19 team of the Ukrainian club, scoring five goals in eight UEFA Youth League games. This young player has a great opportunity to prove himself at the AFCON qualifiers.
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