Five young players to watch out for at the African Cup of Nations
The African Cup of Nations is all set to kick off in Gabon from January 14th, with squads called up for all sixteen contenders. There have been some surprises such as Benik Afobe rejecting a call-up to DR Congo in favour of playing for Bournemouth, Emmanuel Adebayor making a U-turn on his statements that he might not participate in the tournament, and Wilfried Zaha being called up to the Ivory Coast national team having made 2 appearances for England in friendlies.
Here we take a look at five surprise packages that could have a major impact on the tournament:
#5 Ramadan Sobhi – Egypt (Stoke City)
Having played at the U-17, U-20, U-23 and senior levels for Egypt as well as serial champions Al Ahly, 19-year-old Sobhi can scarcely be considered an unknown quantity to the followers of Egyptian football.
Having made his debut for Al Ahly at the age of 16, he made 55 appearances for them across three seasons, contributing to 2 league titles and 2 domestic cups. His attractive style of play, willingness to take on defenders and an eye for goal have seen several comparisons being made to Mohamed Aboutrika – one of Egypt’s all-time greats.
While his chances of making the starting XI for the tournament’s most successful team might not be the brightest, his winning goal against Nigeria in the qualifiers is sure to get him some run-outs as a substitute against tiring opposition. Those might just be the perfect conditions for him to shine.