The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is set to kick off in Ivory Coast on January 13 which means that some of the biggest superstars on the continent would converge to compete for the title.
Virtually all the 24 teams participating in the 2023 AFCON have released their final squad for the tournament which will come to an end on February 11, 2024.
Ahead of the commencement of the 34th edition of the tournament, Naija News has identified some of the biggest stars to look out for.
1. Victor Osimhen (Nigeria)
Of course, the hottest player to watch at the tournament is 25-year-old Nigerian striker, Victor Osimhen who missed the 2021 edition of the tournament due to fitness issues.
Osimhen is going into the tournament as the reigning CAF player of the year, the 8th-ranked player at the 2023 Ballon d’Or, and the highest goalscorer of the 2023 AFCON qualifiers.
The Nigeria international is expected to shine in his debut AFCON from Group A which comprises the hosts, Ivory Coast, alongside Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau.
2. Mohamed Salah (Egypt)
In terms of achievements for both club and country, Mohamed Salah will be one of the biggest football stars at the 2023 AFCON.
The 31-year-old Egyptian striker led Egypt to the final of the last edition of the tournament which they lost to Senegal. In this forthcoming edition, the Liverpool winger is expected to help his country end their 13-year wait for the title.
The ‘Egyptian King’ who has been in outstanding form for Liverpool is expected to easily lead his country through Group B which features Ghana, Cape Verde, and Mozambique.
3. Serhou Guirassy (Guinea)
Serhou Guirassy has been one of the most talked about strikers in Europe due to his prolific goalscoring form.
So far this season, he has scored 15 goals in just 10 German Bundesliga games. The 27-year-old striker is expected to use such a form to rescue Guinea from Group C which features the reigning champions of AFCON Senegal, alongside Cameroon and the Gambia.
4. Mohammed Kudus (Ghana)
West Ham United’s versatile midfielder, Mohammed Kudus, has successfully established himself as the star player of Ghana heading into the 2023 AFCON.
The 23-year-old attacking midfielder who joined West Ham from Ajax last summer has scored 6 goals and provided one assists in 16 Premier League games so far this season.
He is expected to help Ghana qualify from Group B ahead of Egypt, Mozambique, and Cape Verde.
5. Azzedine Ounahi (Morocco)
Azzedine Ounahi is currently the hottest player in the Moroccan national team and he is expected to be one of the biggest stars at the 2023 AFCON.
Recall that Ounahi secured a move to French giants Marseille last summer after helping Morocco to record an historic run in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar where they became the first African country to reach the semi-final stage.
While a toe injury became a setback to the football career of the 23-year-old in 2023, most football enthusiasts in Morocco are looking forward to his performance in Ivory Coast in January.
He and his teammates will start their 2023 AFCON campaign in Group F alongside DR Congo, Zambia, and Tanzania.