The AFCON finals have historically given the continent’s best talents a platform to shine on one of the biggest stages in world football.
So far, the 2023 AFCON finals have seen several budding stars produce some sensational moments to catch the eye.
With impressive performances and game-winning moments, these potential future stars who made their AFCON debuts could be in contention for high-profile moves in the coming years.
West Ham midfielder Mohammed Kudus made a brief but memorable cameo at the 2023 AFCON finals. Ghana were eliminated at the group stage after two points from three matches and things may have been different if Kudus was fit to feature in all matches.
An injury limited Kudus’ game time to just two games, but it was enough for the midfielder to make a big impact.
In his first AFCON match, the 23-year-old scored both goals as Ghana earned a 2-2 draw against Egypt. Kudus was lively again in the Black Stars 2-2 final match draw with Mozambique, attempting five shots, but couldn’t find the net.
20-year-old Lamine Camara showed glimpses of outstanding talent in his three AFCON appearances.
The Metz midfielder produced a man-of-the-match performance on his AFCON debut against the Gambia. Two well-taken goals led Senegal to a comfortable 3-0 win as Camara dominated the midfield areas.
Although the young midfielder couldn’t replicate his strong start in his following two appearances, he showed that he will be a player to watch moving forward.
Before the AFCON, Mali midfielder Lassine Sinayoko was in strong form for club side Auxerre, scoring three goals in six. Sinayoko certainly brought this positivity into the 2023 AFCON as three goals in four appearances have led Mali to a quarter-final clash against Ivory Coast.
Consistent performances from the 24-year-old have kept him in contention for the AFCON Golden Boot award this season. In addition, Sinayoko could be the key player to help Mali to best Ivory Coast and head to the final four. Bettors can get the latest odds for Mali vs Ivory Coast after claiming the BetAfriq bonus for new players.
Despite Morocco’s early exit from the 2023 AFCON at the hands of South Africa, midfielder Azzedine Ounahi provided a bright spark for the Atlas Lions.
Ounahi started all four of Morocco’s AFCON games, showcasing his importance to the national team. In his first-team run, the 23-year-old also scored in Morocco’s 3-0 opening match win over Tanzania.
But Ounahi’s forward-thinking play caught the eye from midfield. The Marseille midfielder topped the Morocco stats for the amount of dribbles attempted per match (3) and the number of fouls drawn (3 per match).
22-year-old attacking midfielder Aguibou Camara is the only Guinea player to feature in every minute of the National Elephants’ AFCON campaign.
Camara has been influential in helping Guinea to reach the final eight, particularly with a man-of-the-match performance and winning goal against the Gambia in the group stages.
Ultimately, Camara will be key for Guinea in their upcoming knockout clash against DR Congo. The midfielder could provide the moment of quality for his side, having attempted nearly two key passes per game for Guinea at the AFCON.