Jan 20, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

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Mane, Salah and more: Six stars to watch at the Cup of Nations

The Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in Cameroon on Sunday, with Senegal, the top-ranked club on the continent, next to reigning champions Algeria as the team to beat.

AFP Sport selects six Stars who are in focus at the tournament:

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Bayern Munich and Cameroon)

Choupo-Moting was temporarily dismissed during his two years at Paris Saint-Germain where he was a backward – in attacking superstars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. Nevertheless, he has scored some important goals and has scored 17 goals in 44 appearances since his commitment to FC Bayern Munich in 2020.

The 32-year-old, who is 1.91 m tall, was born in Germany and At the beginning of his career he mainly played for Hamburg and Schalke before playing in the Premier League at Stoke City.

Eligible to play for Cameroon through his father, he represented the Indomitable Lions at the 2010 and 2014 World Championships and In 2015 and 2017 he was the captain of the AFCON. He wasn’t there when Cameroon won the Cup in Gabon in 2017, but this time he’s the biggest name in the squad of hosts looking to win the Cup for the sixth time.

Sadio Mane (Liverpool and Senegal)

Senegal is the top African team according to the FIFA rankings and Liverpool striker Mane is their star player. As the former African Footballer of the Year, who also finished fourth in the Ballon d’Or rankings in 2019, Mane is very much missed by Liverpool on his way to Cameroon – he has 10 goals for his club this season.

However, the 29-year-old is desperate to win the biggest prize in African football after Senegal lost to Algeria in the 2019 final. The West African country has never won the Nations Cup.

Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain and Morocco)

At the age of 23, right-back Hakimi plays for PSG, who has already played for Real Madrid , Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan and is probably the best offensive full-back in the world today. He will therefore be the man to be found among the leading contenders in a Moroccan team.

Hakimi, who joined PSG from Inter for € 60m last July, is theoretically a defender , but above all he’s an important creative and offensive player on the right. Born and raised in Madrid to Moroccan parents, Hakimi was only 18 when he met Lions on his competitive debut for the Atlas Lions.

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt)

Many scoffed when Salah finished seventh in the final Ballon d’Or rankings in November. One could argue that there is currently no better player in the world than the 29-year-old striker, who has scored 54 times for Liverpool since the beginning of last season.

Jürgen Klopp’s team will miss him and Mane while they are gone for up to a month, but Salah carries the hopes and dreams of 100 million Egyptians on his shoulders. He is the lead in a squad that consists mostly of home players as the Pharaohs hunt for the record-breaking eighth African crown.

Salah played on the team that lost the 2017 final to Cameroon before them against. lost South Africa as hosts in the 2019 round of 16.

Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City and Algeria)

Another former African Footballer of the Year, Mahrez, led Algeria to victory in 2019 and is the star again if they want to keep their title.

The winger has been in good shape for Manchester City, scoring 13 goals in 25 games this season for the Premier League leaders. Today 30, Mahrez was born and raised in the suburbs of Paris, but Algeria was the country of birth of his late father, and Riyad made his international debut just before the 2014 World Cup, not long after moving to England with Leicester City.

Sebastien Haller (Ajax and Ivory Coast)

The 27-year-old striker was one of the stars of this year’s UEFA Champions League, scoring 10 goals in the group stage for Ajax. After Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017, he was only the second player to score in all six group games.

Haller, who scored 22 goals this season, moved from West Ham United last January for 22, 5 million euros to Ajax m). represent Ivory Coast – his mother’s country of birth – after receiving the call at the age of 26.