As the anticipation for the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON 2024 unfolds, these ten young talents promise to captivate audiences with their skill, determination, and potential to shape the future of African football. Keep an eye on these rising stars as they strive to make their mark on the grand stage of AFCON, showcasing the depth and quality of football talent emerging from the continent.
1. Mohamed Amoura (Algeria, 23)
Algeria’s prodigious talent, Mohamed Amoura, has rapidly risen through the ranks, earning 19 caps since his debut in 2021. The Union SG forward has been in scintillating form in the Belgian Pro League, netting an impressive 13 goals in just 14 league appearances this season. As Premier League clubs circle for his signature, Amoura’s flair and goal-scoring prowess make him a player to watch.
2. Azzedine Ounahi (Morocco, 23)
A standout performer in Morocco’s historic journey to the 2022 FIFA World Cup semi-finals, Azzedine Ounahi has garnered attention for his impressive skills. The Marseille midfielder caught the eye of Spanish manager Luis Enrique, demonstrating his ability to shine on the international stage. After overcoming a premature end to his previous season, Ounahi is ready to be a key figure for Morocco at AFCON 2024.
3. Mohammed Kudus (Ghana, 23)
Ghana’s midfield maestro, Mohammed Kudus, has been a consistent performer since joining the national team in 2019. The Ghana Football Awards Footballer of the Year for 2023 and a CAF Team of the Year member, Kudus brings both skill and accolades to the pitch. His 30 appearances for Ghana reflect his experience, and he is set to play a pivotal role in Ghana’s AFCON campaign.
4. Issa Kabore (Burkina Faso, 22)
A defensive stalwart and the Best Young Player at the 2021 AFCON, Issa Kabore, has continued to impress at Luton Town. With 30 caps for Burkina Faso, Kabore’s solid defensive skills will be crucial for his team’s success. His experience and maturity at a young age make him a formidable force to contend with.
5. Nicholas Jackson (Senegal, 22)
Chelsea’s rising star, Nicholas Jackson, has been a goal-scoring sensation, notching seven goals this season. His standout performance, including a hat-trick against Tottenham, showcases his exciting potential. As one of Chelsea’s most promising young players, Jackson’s attacking flair will add a dynamic element to Senegal’s offensive strategy.
6. Pape Matar Sarr (Senegal, 21)
The CAF 2022 Youth Player of the Year has been fantastic for Premier League side Tottenham over the past couple of years. He was also part of the Senegal side that won the previous edition of the AFCON in 2021. The youngster’s presence in Ivory Coast was previously in doubt following a recent injury but he was passed fit and fans are excited to see what he will offer on the continental stage this time.
7. Abdessamad Ezzalzouli (Morocco, 21)
Dubbed “Ez Abde,” Ezzalzouli played a pivotal role in Morocco’s U-23 AFCON triumph in 2023. His Golden Boot and Team of the Tournament recognition underline his attacking prowess. As a young talent on the rise, Ezzalzouli adds depth and skill to Morocco’s squad.
8. Lamine Camara (Senegal, 20)
Drawing comparisons to midfield maestros like N’Golo Kante and Sergio Busquets, Lamine Camara is a player with a bright future. Winning the U-20 AFCON with Senegal and being named the CAF Awards Young Player of the Year in 2023, Camara’s ability to control the midfield will be vital for Senegal’s AFCON campaign.
9. Dango Ouattara (Burkina Faso, 21)
A regular for Bournemouth in the Premier League, Dango Ouattara may have missed out on the CAF Awards, but his consistent performances in one of the toughest leagues in the world speak volumes. Ouattara’s experience at a high level makes him a valuable asset for Burkina Faso.
10. Ernest Nuamah (Ghana, 20)
Lauded in the Danish league, Ernest Nuamah’s achievements, including Young Player and Player of the Year awards, have set the stage for success. Currently on loan at Lyon in Ligue 1, Nuamah’s versatile skills make him a player to watch as he represents Ghana on the continental stage. He has been dubbed the next Michael Essien, and he will be looking to live up to that reputation at AFCON 2024.