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Africa Cup of Nations 2019: Top 3 candidates for the AFCON Player Of The Tournament award

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
19 Jul 2019, 15:26 IST

Sadio Mane and Riyadh Mahrez both will play in the final of the tournament.
Sadio Mane and Riyadh Mahrez both will play in the final of the tournament.

The Africa Cup of Nations 2019 will reach its conclusion this Saturday with two of the best teams of the continent in Algeria and Senegal going head to head at The Cairo International Stadium.

This clash also brings some of the very best individuals of the tournament face to face with one another, with Algeria captain Riyad Mahrez and Senegal star Sadio Mane headlining the list.

One of the most coveted individual honors at the competition is the Player of the Tournament award, which is announced after the final.

Historically, the award has always gone to a player belonging to the eventual champions and there is no reason as to why it will be any different this time around, with a bunch of players from both The Desert Foxes and the Lions of Teranga having outstanding campaigns.

Though there have been quite a few players who shined throughout the competition, the result in the final will play a major role in the determination of the MVP of the tournament.

On one hand, Algeria can win the continental competition for the first time in 29 years and Senegal have a chance to create history by lifting their maiden trophy. So, the odds of a player who ends up helping his side become a part of history being announced as the MVP are very high.

So, with that being said, here is our list of the top contenders for the award.


#1 Ismael Bennacer

Bennacer was named the best player of AFCON Group Stage fixtures.
Bennacer was named the best player of AFCON Group Stage fixtures.

Algeria as a team have played very well throughout the tournament, functioning like a well-oiled machine designed to win games. Their form can be attributed to the impressive depth of talent they have at their disposal - young and energetic players who are the cog in the wheel of this organized team.

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One of their best performers has been 21-year-old midfielder Ismael Bennacer, who was also named the best player of Group Stages by CAF earlier this month.

Though he has not gotten on the scoresheet himself yet, he has two assists to his name so far. But, in the case of this player, the stats do not tell the complete story.

The former Arsenal academy prospect has been the heart of the Desert Foxes' game - his passing range in midfield is superb and he has also proven he can put himself about physically.

He's had a passing accuracy of 87.4%, although, in the opposition's half, it drops down to 84.4%, which is still more than stars like Riyad Mahrez and Sofiane Feghouli.

If he can impose himself in the final and be able to find the back of the net in the last game of the tournament leading to Algeria's win, there's no doubt he will be awarded the MVP award.


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