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AFCON 2023: Standout Players And Moments

by inlandtownadmin
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34th Africa’s top event ended at Abidjan’s Alassane Ouattara Stadium, with Ivory Coast winning at home.

Ivory Coast won their third AFCON title by defeating favorites Nigeria in Abidjan. The Elephants had to do it the hard way after coming from a goal down to win it 2-1.

After 52 matches, 119 goals, comebacks, upsets, tears, joy, top-notch refereeing, stunning goals, and superb goalkeeping, here are the standout players of AFCON 2023, etched into its history.

Ronwen Williams

The Mamelodi Sundowns shot-stopper could not lead South Africa to AFCON glory but he’s won the hearts of many across the globe with his heroics throughout the competition. In seven games, Williams kept five clean sheets.

Williams shone at AFCON 2023, saving four penalties in the quarter-final and two more in the bronze medal match for Bafana Bafana.

Sekou Fofana

Fofana has been the engine of the host nation. He also scored the first of the 116 goals netted at the AFCON 2023. He was the best player on the field against Guinea Bissau to set the tone for what was going to be a memorable competition for the Elephants.

Throughout the competition, the importance of the Al Nassr midfielder to his country became evident: when he played poorly, Cote d’Ivoire lost, and when he dominated games, they won. To lead this team to AFCON triumph is a testament to his skill but also attitude and commitment. He’s made his mark on home soil.

Victor Osimhen

Despite being sought after by Chelsea and Arsenal, he prioritized the team’s success over personal gain, willingly passing on penalty duties to William Troost-Ekong.

Key to Nigeria’s success, he earned the crucial penalty leading them to victory against South Africa and securing a spot in the final. With a stellar reputation in Europe, his absence would have impacted their journey significantly.

William Troost-Ekong

The Super Eagles captain deserves all the praise for guiding what looked like a sinking ship a few months ago the final of the African Cup of Nations. His organizational skills at the heart of Nigeria’s three-man backline was nothing short of exceptional.

It’s no surprise that Nigeria conceded four goals all tournament but two unfortunately two came in the final. Troost-Ekong even added scoring abilities to his game and scored a brilliant header to open the scoring in the final. He showed incredible composure to beat South African penalty kick expert Ronwen Williams in the semifinals.

The way he handled his nerves to also net his kick during the shootout was just brilliant. Throughout the competition, Nigeria showed strength, determination and bravery and no player epitomised that than the former Watford man.

Ademola Lookman

Operating from the wing in a 3-4-3 formation, Ademola Lookman has scored three goals in what was his debut African Cup of Nations. But Lookman has been more than just goals.

His relentless running, the sacrifices he has made to his game, and the fire in his eyes have been inspiring. He tracked back and never admitted defeat. Despite his eagerness to play for England, he has handled playing for the Super Eagles very well.

Simon Adingra

What a tournament the Brighton and Hove man has had. He started the competition injured when he did get going he was unstoppable. Influenced the win against Mali and got two assists against Nigeria in the final. Young player of the tournament.

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