Less-hyped stars that could set Nations Cup alight

With the spotlight on well-known stars like Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez, and Mohamed Salah, supersport.com takes a look at some of the future stars that could take the tournament by storm and make a career breakthrough.

There are a number of lesser-known players who carry a big reputation and this tournament could just be the stage where they realise their full potential

Kelechi Nwakali (Nigeria)

Nkwali skippered Nigeria to glory and was crowned player of the tournament as Nigeria triumphed at the 2015 Fifa Under-17 World Cup in Chile. His performance at the tournament attracted interest from a number of top clubs, among them Bayern Munich and Manchester City, but he was eventually snapped up by Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.

Nwakali is a brilliant box-to-box midfielder with a very high workrate and contributes immensely in the team both defensively and in attack. After failing to break into the Arsenal first team, Nwakali is now rebuilding his career at Huesca in Spain’s second tier.

Abubeker Nasser (Ethiopia)

This is the second season since SuperSport started broadcasting the BetKing Ethiopian Premier League and a number of good players are beginning to get the spotlight, notably the Ethiopian Coffee talisman Nasser. The 22-year old, who can play as a center forward and out wide, has been in blistering form for Coffee, scoring a total of 29 goals in 23 matches last season and already has four goals in eight matches this term.

With most people paying more attention to the two foreign-based players in Shemeles Bekele (El Gouna, Egypt) and Mujib Kassim (JS Kabilye, Algeria) this takes the pressure off Nasser to shine for Walia Ibex.

Tino Kadewere (Zimbabwe)                  

After getting only 20 minutes in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, the striker has been handed a second chance to show his goal-scoring prowess that earned him plaudits in the French Ligue 1. The striker confirmed his goal poaching reputation when he bagged 10 goals for Olympique Lyonnais in Ligue 1 last season.

Rated as one of the best African stars in the French league, Kadewere will look to the Africa Cup of Nations for a fresh start to find his goalscoring form and find his fitness again after being plagued by injuries this season.

Ilaix Moriba (Guinea)

The 18-year old midfielder came through Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy, becoming one of the club’s best prospects before making his senior debut last season under manager Ronald Koeman, who preferred him ahead of Spain’s highly-rated Rick Puig.

Moriba was subject to reported interest from Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Tottenham but instead opted to continue his career in the Bundesliga.

In the year 2021, Moriba became the fifth-youngest goalscorer in Barcelona’s history and is set to make his international debut at Afcon 2021 where his physicality and creativity could be on display for the Syli Nationale.

Amadou Haidara (Mali)

With Manchester United faced with the prospect of losing Paul Pogba, the RB Leipzig midfielder Haidara has reportedly been identified by United interim manager Ralf Rangnick as an ideal replacement for the Frenchman.

Capped 24 times already by Mali, most Afcon fans will remember him for scoring his first international goal in Egypt 2019 and this tournament is a chance for him to show Man United and other suitors what he can do. – supersport.com

Show More
Back to top button