African Nations Championship: Who Were The best players?


Goal’s Ed Dove ranks his top six players from the recently concluded tournament

Soufiane Rahimi

The tournament’s outstanding individual, Rahimi was a shoo-in for this list.

Morocco’s star man was a cut above the rest; he was the tournament’s top scorer and won the Golden Ball, and expect his performances to have attracted the interest of sides from Europe and the Middle East.

The Raja Casablanca man netted five across the competition, and was particularly impressive in the 4-0 semi-final victory over hosts Cameroon.

Soufiane Rahimi

Saidi Kyeyune

Uganda were bitterly disappointing at the Chan, exiting at the first hurdle once again, but at least in Kyeune they had one outstanding performer.

The midfielder scored the goal of the tournament in the thriller against the Cranes, equalising for the East Africans after Paul Mbowa’s own goal.

Collecting the ball inside the Sparrowhawks’ half, the midfielder took a few touches before slamming home emphatically.He also found the net against Morocco, sparking rumours of an imminent move to Sudanese giants Al-Merreikh.

Saidi Kyeyune

Anas Zniti

Part of the Morocco team that became the first in the tournament’s history to retain the Chan title, Zniti was the Atlas Lions’ first choice in 2018, as he was this time around.

While the North Africans’ class ultimately told in the latter stages of Sunday’s final against Mali, they had Zniti to thank for keeping them in the contest during the early stages.

The West Africans had the lion’s share of the chances across the first half, but Zniti was on hand to keep them at bay and ensure that Morocco clinched the crown.He was also named Goalkeeper of the Tournament.

Anas Zniti

Morlaye Sylla

The Mali maestro was the player who pushed Rahimi closest, and has seen his stock soar after his outstanding performances in Cameroon.

Sylla won four Man of the Match awards in five outings, scored three, and was influential as Guinea took bronze.

He’s set to be the next player off the exciting Horoya production line.

Morlaye Sylla

Ayoub El Kaabi

Things haven’t entirely gone to plan for El Kaabi since he excelled at the 2018 Chan, winning the top scorer award, bagging a move to China, and securing himself a spot in Morocco’s World Cup squad.

He retained his quality in front of goal this time around, and was influential as the Atlas Lions went the distance.

The striker equalled from the spot against Uganda when things looked a little dicey for Morocco in their final group game, and netted again in the quarter-final against Zambia.

In Sunday’s final, he was again influential, scoring Morocco’s second to put the contest beyond Mali.

Ayoub El Kaabi

Djigui Diarra

While African goalkeepers still get a bad rep, Zniti wasn’t the only stopper to have impressed during the Chan.

Mali’s Diarra was also imperious, and was unfortunate to have been on the losing side on Sunday.

He conceded just once—two fewer than Zniti—in the run up to the final, and was on the winning side in two penalty shootouts.

The stopper organised his backline well, and at just 25, still has considerable growth and development ahead of him.

Djigui Diarra

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