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AFCON- Africa Cup of Nations

AFCON 2023 Round of 16 Team of the Week

Published at :February 1, 2024 at 11:50 PM
Modified at :February 1, 2024 at 11:50 PM
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Some of the top performers in AFCON 2023 RO 16

The Africa Cup of Nations 2023 (AFCON 2023) is in its full form. We are almost at the middle stage of the tournament. The quarter-finals will be active from 2 February. The first match of that phase will kick off with Nigeria and Angola.

The Round of 16 also saw Angola national football team kickstart the event against Namibia. The game saw two red cards. By the end of the Round of 16 games, a total of five red cards were handed out in a total of eight matches. This indicates tough battles, strong desire and competitiveness in the games.

The following eleven players were able to get their names on the Confederation of African Football AFCON 2023 Round of 16 Team. The team sees players picked from eight different nations which also showcases the wide array of talents in almost every national side participating in this Ivory Coast hosted tournament.

GK: Lionel Mpasi (DR Congo)

DR Congo did the unthinkable in the Round of 16 stage. They were tasked to get the better of Egypt. And so they did. Lionel Mpasi was the man in between the goalposts who held on to everything that came at him. In the full 90 minutes, Mpasi only conceded through a penalty against the Pharaohs. His nation eventually won in the extra-time penalty shootout.

CB: Hamari Traoré (Mali)

The Real Sociedad right-back is making his nation proud. For the Mali national football team, Hamari Traoré provided a beautifully weighted assist for the second goal against Burkina Faso. This eventually was a pivotal moment as his country won the game 2-1.

CB: Mothobi Mvala (South Africa)

Mothobi Mvala has been involved in all the matches so far in this 2023 AFCON tournament for South Africa. The 29-year-old played a crucial role in being the rock in between the goal line of Bafana Bafana in the Round of 16. In a game that saw heavyweights Morocco getting knocked out, Mvala made two decisive tackles and made 46 accurate passes.

CB: Calvin Bassey (Nigeria)

Calvin Bassey AFCON 2023
Nigeria have only conceded one goal in the tournament

Nigeria’s national football team versus Cameroon was one of the big Round of 16 games. A meeting between two heavyweights early on was exciting. The game was won 2-0 by Calvin Bassey and Co. Bassey, the 24-year-old centre-back from Premier League side Fulham made an assist. He even landed 38 accurate passes and three tackles.

RM: Fredy (Angola)

Against Namibia, Angola was set up in a 4-3-3 formation by head coach Pedro Gonçalves. Number 16, Fredy played as a right central midfielder and did wonders. The Black Sable Antelopes won the game 3-0 and effectively the midfielder provided assists for two of those goals.

CM: Teboho Mokoena (South Africa)

At the club level, Teboho Mokoena plays for Mamelodi Sundowns in the South African Premier Division. For national duties, he steps up in the kits of the South Africa national football team. Mokoena attempted a total number of three shots against the Atlas Lions. One of them made it to the back of the net in the 90+5 minute on the clock.

CM: Jean Michaël Seri (Ivory Coast)

There will never be another N’Golo Kanté but Jean Michaël Seri comes close. Often compared to the French midfielder because of similarities in style of play, Seri played the whole 120 minutes for the host nation of 2023 AFCON after the game went into extra time. Ivory Coast knocked out the defending champions Senegal with the help of the midfield maestro on their side.

LM: Iván Salvador (Equatorial Guinea)

Born in Spain, Iván Salvador adores the jersey of the Equatorial Guinea national football team when national duty calls. Although his nation was made to leave the tournament after a 1-0 defeat to Guinea, Salvador performed brilliantly in the match.

RW: Ademola Lookman (Nigeria)

Similar to Salvador, Ademola Lookman has two citizenships to choose from. One is England and the other one is Nigeria. Although the player has played for the Three Lions in the U19, U20 and U21 categories, first team action came for the Super Eagles. The Atalanta winger scored both goals against the Indomitable Lions.

ST: Mohamed Bayo (Guinea)

The game was just 22 seconds close to being sent for extra time and Mohamed Bayo popped up to score the decisive goal. In a Round of 16 game between Equatorial Guinea and Guinea, it was Bayo’s header that remained the only difference between the sides.

LW: Gelson Dala (Angola)

Gelson Dala won the man of the match for his efforts against the Brave Warriors, Namibia. A brace of goals by Dala saw him total four goals in the tournament so far. In the quarter-finals, he has a chance to take his tally further and even take a shot at winning the 2023 AFCON Golden Boot award by the event’s end.

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