As the 29th Africa Cup of Nations takes place, showcasing the best in African football, From Mali to Ghana to Nigeria to Cape Verde—and several other countries as well—here’s a list of top players to watch this year, whose talents prove they are a force to be reckoned with:
1. Emmanuel Emenike:
Helping lead his team to the finals for the first time in 13 years after Wednesday’s win against Mali, Emenike proves to be one of Nigeria’s strongest players. Thus far he’s scored 4 goals in the competition, proving to be a beast on the field and a leading scorer at AFCON.
2. Seydou Keita:
Considered one of Mali’s biggest contenders on the field, Keita, who’s on his sixth appearance at AFCON, is a true veteran in the game. Despite not being able to help his team pull through against Nigeria, Keita has 70 caps for Mali under his belt.
3. Jonathan Pitroipa:
Scoring the winning goal against Togo last Sunday that led his team to the semi-finals, Pitroipa is showing why teams should respect he and his fellow Burkina Faso teammates. Having already appeared at AFCON twice, and with 2 goals thus far in the competition, it’s no wonder Burkina Faso is fighting to get the penalty that Pitroipa received in Wednesday’s game against Ghana overturned so that he can play in the upcoming Johannesburg final against Nigeria.
4. Mubarak Wakaso:
In a match-up against Cape Verde, Wakaso led Ghana to a victory and into the semi-finals, having scored two goals in one game. Scoring his fourth goal in his teams lost against Burkina Faso, Wakaso has joined the list of top scorers for the 2013 AFCON.
5. Alain Traore:
Although injury has led Alain Traore to pull out of the competition, the talents of this Burkina Faso player can’t be overlooked. Holding 3 goals under his belt during his time in the 2013 AFCON, Burkina Faso coach Paul Put told Yahoo! News, “For us, we were very happy with his goal scoring performance because without his goals, I think we wouldn’t be here.”