Ones To Watch in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations


(Eurosport/Getty Images)


By. Rania Elhilali

The 2021 Africa Cup Nations is now upon us and many players are set to break through during the long-awaited tournament. The Africa Cup of Nations already features multiple famous players who play around the world in the various leagues, ranging from Egyptian and Liverpool star Mohammed Salah, to Algeria’s and Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez to Gabon and Arsenal star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, these are just a few of many stars that will feature at this years AFCON.


Yet those names are only scratching the surface of what talent lies behind the tournament that is the African Cup of Nations. To dive a bit deeper into the spectacular talent that resides in the tournament, here is a list that contains a couple of names that should be kept on the lookout as they have the potential to create a big impact in the tournament.


Toko Ekambi (Cameroon) - The Olympique Lyonnais forward has been in form for his French club in the Europa League. Being the league's joint-top scorer with six goals, the Cameroonian forward will definitely be one of the main driving forces of the host nation's offensive chances as they strive to make a deep run in this year's AFCON.


(ESPN)


Hannibal Mejbri (Tunisia) - The young 18-year-old Tunisian talent who has made only one senior appearance at Manchester United, has made a stunning nine appearances for his country. Surprisingly, most of them helped his team reach the recently wrapped FIFA Arab cup final, where his team were runner-ups. Yet, where Mejbri had a spectacular performance where he showed his creative chances and his technical skill of protecting the team's possession, Mejbri can be possibly an underrated maestro, pulling the strings for Tunisia going into the AFCON.


(Manchester Evening News)


Sébastien Haller (Ivory Coast) - Leading this season Champions League top scorer with ten goals in only 6 appearances, and adding his 12 in the Eredivisie with Ajax in 17 games, this will be Haller’s first taste at being in the AFCON after his change from the French national team. In form and on a goal-scoring streak, Haller can be of great use for Ivory Coast, and will very likely help to create great damage to Algeria’s defence who are in group E. Algeria are defending champions after winning the 2019 edition of the AFCON, a feat they will want to repeat once again.


(DW/Getty Images)


Said Benrahma (Algeria) - West Ham United forward Said Benhrama, has only recently started to break through into Premier League stardom, netting a total of 5 goals and 4 assists in the premier league and three goals in the Europa League. Benrahma can definitely be a cause of problems to opponents in Group E, where they will face the ever-menacing Ivory Coast. Said’s creative and quick flair when working with the ball may just be Algeria’s secret weapon, in hopes to once again run deep into the tournament and possibly win it again as they are favourites to the title after winning it in 2019.


(Hammers News)


Romain Saiss (Morocco) - Given the title of being the “Moroccan Maldini'' by Wolves club manager Bruno Lage, Saiss without a doubt has the quality to help the Moroccan side to make a deep run in this year's AFCON. Saiss will lead his team wearing the captain armband into what they hope to be a successful run. Ultimately, Saiss’s range of game awareness and ability to make important fast-paced game passes decisions as a defender, can quite possibly make it or break it for Morocco in group C.


(Mirror)


Those are just a few names that eyes should be set on as they have the skill, quality and potential in making it or breaking for their countries, and in making an impact in the 2021 AFCON tournament in Cameroon.