Africa Cup of Nations : The most promising stars

AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS:
AFRICA’S BRIGHTEST STARS

Words: Melissa Reddy
Stats: James Freemantle
Photography: Getty Images

Some of the brightest, fastest, most experienced and cleverest football stars on the planet will take part in the 31st edition of the Africa Cup Of Nations

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Riyad Mahrez, Sadio Mané and Asamoah Gyan are among the hottest football talent on the planet.

The globetrotting foursome will be coming home in January for the 31st edition of the Africa Cup Of Nations, taking place in Gabon, and all will be hungry to lead their team to continental glory.

The Red Bulletin introduces the three best players from four different categories:

  • Power
  • Guile
  • Speed
  • Experience
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1. Power

African footballers are often lauded for their pace and power. These players will be stretching every sinew on the pitch at the 2017 Africa Cup Of Nations:

  • Sadio Mané
  • Eric Bailly
  • Kalidou Koulibaly

Heroes of AFCON 2017: Sadio Mané on how to push for success

SADIO MANÉ After a big-money move to Liverpool at the start of the 2016/17 campaign, Mané has flourished under Jurgen Klopp and guaranteed his place in the team. The fluid movement of the Reds' front three has given free rein to his pace and dribbling abilities.

2. Guile

Every top team needs a wizard who can conjure up spells in the final third. These are the players with the creativity and flair to make a crucial difference in Africa’s showpiece football tournament:

  • Riyad Mahrez
  • Hakim Ziyech
  • Yacine Brahimi

Heroes of AFCON 2017: Why Riyad Mahrez wears his battle scars with pride

Riyad mahrez Leicester City defied all expectation by taking the 2015/16 Premier League title, and the flamboyant skills of Mahrez were a decisive factor. The Algerian winger notched up 17 goals and 11 assists on his way to claiming the PFA Player Of The Year award in a scintillating season.

3. Speed

The fastest players are often also the most destructive. This uncoachable quality can be the difference between victory and defeat.

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
  • Serge Aurier
  • Mohamed Salah

Heroes of AFCON 2017: Aubameyang on giving everything you can

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang The reigning African Footballer Of The Year will be the host nation's talisman and spearhead. He has pace and power to burn, and has proved his clinical goal-scoring pedigree week after week in the Bundesliga, making Aubameyang one of the most feared strikers in European football.

4. Experience

Some of the players at AFCON 2017 will have been around the block a few times. But when the pressure’s on, familiarity with the demands of a major tournament can be invaluable.

  • Asamoah Gyan
  • Emmanuel Adebayor
  • Mehdi Benatia

Heroes of AFCON 2017: Asamoah Gyan on how to make a difference

Some of the players at AFCON 2017 will have been around the block a few times. But when the pressure's on, familiarity with the demands of a major tournament can be invaluable

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01 2017 The Red Bulletin

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