A number of players from Senegal and Ivory Coast has made it to the list.
The Africa Cup of Nations, a the premier continental tournament for African countries, is set to begin from January 9 and will run its course till February 6, 2022. Host nation Cameroon will see the best African international teams clash for the top honours and bragging rights over the next few weeks. The star-studded and prestigious tournament has seen legends like Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o and George Weah feature in the past.
Africa has incredible depth in talent and players from the continent play across the globe for various clubs. During the AFCON, these players leave the clubs to perform their national duty. As such, the football community gets to witness the best of what Africa has to offer during the tournament.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 players to watch out for at the Africa Cup of Nations 2022:
10. Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast)
Zaha is one of the most exciting wingers who will feature at the Africa Cup of Nations 2022. He will represent Ivory Coast at the tournament, hoping to deliver the trophy. He scored a vital goal in Round of 16 in the 2019 edition but could not help the team win against Algeria in the quarter-final. The 29-year-old plays for Crystal Palace and is a major part of their attacking lineup.
9. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a central figure for the Gabon national football team. He is the captain of the outfit and will look to regain some of his lost form at the club level. The striker is coming to the tournament after a tough time with Arsenal, having a fallout with manager Mikel Arteta. Regardless of the club form, Aubameyang, who is Gabon’s record international goalscorer, remains a huge threat, who will look at the Africa Cup of Nations 2022 as a way to silence his critics.
8. Maxwel Cornet (Ivory Coast)
Maxwel recently signed for Burnley in the Premier League. He was in exceptional form for them until having to leave for the AFCON 2022. The attacker has already scored six goals for his new employers and will look to carry the form into the Africa Cup of nations 2022. Cornet will represent Ivory Coast, who are strong favourites to win the continental showpiece.
7. Edouard Mendy (Senegal)
The Chelsea custodian will be representing Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations 2022. He was a major figure in the team’s march to the final in 2019 and he will hope to finally lift the trophy this time around. The 29-year-old is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He was crucial in Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup wins in 2021.
6. Sadio Mane (Senegal)
Sadio Mane is one of the most prolific attackers on his day and he will represent Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations. The Liverpool forward will play alongside Mendy after playing against him a few days ago in the Premier League. Mane’s form at the club level has not been encouraging and he will hope to turn the tides at the tournament in Cameroon. One of the most underrated players in the Premier League, He managed three goals in 2019 and will look to score more this time around.
5. Sebastien Haller (Ivory Coast)
Haller is one of the most prolific strikers in Europe at the moment. He switched allegiance to Ivory Coast after playing for France at the youth level. The Ajax forward has 22 goals and six assists in 24 overall appearances, heading into the Africa Cup of Nations 2022. He recently scored an astonishing 10 goals in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League 2021/22. He will hope to set the stage on fire and deliver his country’s third win at the continental extravaganza.
4. Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal)
Kalidou Koulibaly is one of the most exceptional centre-backs in Europe and will represent Senegal in the upcoming tournament. Although he is reportedly recovering from a calf injury but is expected to still play a major role in the national team’s ambitions. The defender is the foundation behind Napoli’s good performance in the domestic circuit. He will aim to help the team to its first-ever Africa Cup of Nations win in 2022.
3. Achraf Hakimi (Morocco)
The defender is going to represent Morocco at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2022. One of the best right backs in the world right now, Hakimi is also one of the most valuable defenders out there. He currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain after moving to the French giants from Inter Milan in a €60m move. However, the 23-year-old plays a more advanced role in the Moroccan national team and will be a threat to every opposition due to his pace.
2. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)
Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez will play a huge role for Algeria in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations 2022. The outfit are the defending champions and will look to retain the title. Mahrez scored three times in the 2019 edition, including an injury-time winner over Nigeria in the semi-final. He will look to carry his scintillating form at club level into the tournament. The winger has scored 13 goals and has five assists in 25 matches.
1. Mohamed Salah (Egypt)
Mohamed Salah will be one of the top players to watch out for at the Africa Cup of Nations 2022. The Egyptian will hope to guide his team to the title after reaching the Round of 16 but losing to South Africa in 2019. One of the best Premier League players of all-time, his form could be the difference-maker as Salah is being touted as the best player in the world based on his current form. The Liverpool forward already has 23 goals and nine assists in 26 overall appearances.