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Who are the biggest AFCON stars playing in Europe?

Who are the biggest AFCON stars playing in Europe?

With the 2023 African Cup of Nations set to take place soon, people want to get a glimpse into the players who will be present at the tournament. Africa is a budding footballing region with exceptional talents, take a look at some of the biggest names in African football, who are also crafting their legacy in Europe’s top leagues.

Mohamed Salah (Egypt and Liverpool)

Mohamed Salah has once again proved that he is one of the best players in the squad playing on the right wing. Salah won against the odds and showed that he could play against the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for being the world’s best player.

Salah has been playing at the top level for well over a decade. In fact, he is a legendary figure for both Liverpool and his country as he always finds a way to lead the team to victory.

Ahead of AFCON, Salah has been a superb success story for Egypt as he has 90 caps and 51 goals. Salah has not led Egypt to an AFCON title just yet but they’ve come extremely close with runner-up finishes in 2017 and 2021. With his blistering form and success for Liverpool, amounting to 200 goals and multiple trophies so far, Salah wants to win it with his nation.

With his status as one of the best players, Salah will likely have a strong impact on Egypt at AFCON. He will be respected by defenders but he will be the primary target for those defensive strategies. Salah has proven he could beat game plans with his play, which makes for an exciting story to follow at AFCON where everyone is keyed in on him.

Victor Osimhen (Nigeria and Napoli)

Osimhen is one of the most imposing forwards in the football world at 6’1” and a rock-solid frame. While his presence seems to rely on his power, do not count on his skills. He can dribble well into the box and finish by himself but can also create for his teammates.

The Nigerian has been superb in his club career playing for clubs like Wolfsburg and Lille but he truly broke out with Napoli. After joining in 2020, Osimhen has already scored 66 goals and has led the Italian club to win the 2022/23 Serie A title, the club’s first top-flight trophy since the 1989/90 season when Diego Maradona led the club.

Aside from his club achievements, Osimhen has been a regular contributor to the Nigerian national team. In his 27 caps for the Super Eagles, Osimhen already has 20 goals, becoming a consistent star for his team. Expect him to keep doing so at AFCON since Nigeria is one of the favourites to win the event.

Achraf Hakimi (Morocco and Paris SG)

After Morocco’s success at the 2022 FIFA World Cup where they reached the semifinals, there is a spotlight on Achraf Hakimi. He has long been a budding talent from the Real Madrid academy and was a senior squad member from 2016 to 2020.

Los Blancos did not work out for Hakimi which led to loan spells to Borussia Dortmund and then a permanent transfer to Inter Milan. The Morrocan has won Serie A in 2021 with I Nerazzurri which then secured him a move to Paris SG.

Apart from his achievements, Hakimi is a brilliant right-back but is more of an attacking wing-back. Hakimi is technically adept with his dribbling and accurate passes. He was trained as a winger but has shown good defensive awareness which made him a top-tier right-back.

Morocco had success in the previous World Cup but Hakimi and the rest of the squad need to live up to the hype. Their most successful run was a runner-up finish in 2004 and 20 years later will be their chance to redeem that defeat.

Mohammed Kudus (Ghana and West Ham United)

Deployed either as an attacking midfielder or a right-winger, Mohammed Kudus became one of the most impressive young players in recent years. Kudus started with Danish club Nordsjælland before getting his big break with Ajax.

Kudus won the Eredivisie twice with Ajax and his brilliance helped him secure a move to the Premier League with West Ham United. The Ghanaian has continued to impress with his performances as he loves contributing to offence by creating chances in central areas while drifting to the right to create crossing opportunities.

He has been a part of the national team since 2019 and Kudus has created some memorable moments already. The Ghanaian’s biggest day was the game against South Korea in the 2022 World Cup where he led Ghana to a 3-2 win by scoring a brace.

Samuel Chukwueze (Nigeria and AC Milan)

A long-time player for Villareal before transferring to AC Milan, Samuel Chukwueze is one of the toughest matchups for defenders as he uses her speed and dribbling to get past them. The Nigerian uses his pace well as he can accelerate and burn his defenders. Blessed with a strong left foot, Chukwueze can cut in and score goals from that.

Expect Chukwueze to be a game-changer for both Milan and Nigeria because his skills will help him dominate the right wing. Chukwueze continues to improve and he will continue to be a superb player when he has space to isolate against his matchup.

The 24-year-old has been around the Nigerian senior squad since 2018 which has been a good development for Chukwueze. He only has five goals so far this season but whenever he’s out of possession, he plays good defence.

Which top player has the best chance to get his team an AFCON win?

Across this group of star players, there will be an interesting debate about the teams they’re playing for. The upcoming AFCON is set to be one of the most competitive editions of the tournament.

Morocco has the momentum and confidence from the World Cup that can carry over to this event. It has only been a year since that run and the players have constantly improved since they received more minutes at their respective clubs.

Hakimi will be a big part of that since he’s their star winger but don’t forget players like Hakim Ziyech, Sofyan Amrabat, Yassine Bounou, and many more. With head coach Walid Regragui leading the way, their intense brand of football will fit well against the other AFCON teams.

Don’t count out other countries because Nigeria has a superb squad while Egypt, Algeria, and defending champions Senegal will all be looking to compete at the highest level. These teams are filled with stellar players from European clubs that were not listed above but they are amazing players too.

Place your AFCON bets here at

With all these amazing players participating in an event like AFCON, expect that there will be an intense match between teams. To make it more accessible, you can also check the odds and place your bets at’s mobile app.

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Cholo Martin2 Jan 2024

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