5 Stars to Watch Out for at the AFCON 2019

The Africa Cup of Nations is an underrated tournament that has produced many a star and its fair share of upsets and surprise winners.

Some of the sides that participate in the tournament are also fan favourites due to their style of play and flair they exhibit. Many of the world's most entertaining footballers are participating in the 2019 edition, and here are five such players we can expect the best out of: 

5. Hakim Ziyech

The Ajax playmaker can be considered as one of Morocco's most talented footballere ever and his spectacular season for the Eredivisie club has seen his stock rise considerably.

With him occupying a free role as seen at the World Cup 2018 last year, there will surely be many great moments of attacking flair on display from Hakim Ziyech. He would be hoping to take his team as far as possible in the tournament.

4. Kalidou Koulibaly

One of the best centre backs in the world right now, the Napoli man mountain is usually recognised right alongside Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk as someone who has made defending fashionable once more. Kalidou Koulibaly has received praise from around the world with his performances over the past couple of seasons.

The Senegalese defender also has an underrated passing range and can conjure accurate long balls to the powerful forwards up top to help his team switch from defence to attack. 

3. Sadio Mane

Another reason why Senegal should be considered among the favourites, if not the favourite to win the entire tournament, the Liverpool star has improved every season and has now become one of the most sought-after wingers in the world.

From a mercurial winger who could conjure up moments of magic to someone who has delivered in big moments for club and country, Sadio Mane has become one of the most consistent attacking players in the world.

2. Nicolas Pepe

The Lille forward is one of the few attacking players that took the next step in their development in the 2018/19 season and has now become one of the best young forwards in the world currently. 

Nicolas Pepe's contributions for his club helped them finish second in Ligue 1, with his 22 goals and 11 assists a big reason why Lille did so well.

The Ivorians, despite having a solid defence and midfield, have lacked a real goalscoring threat up top since the retirement of Didier Drogba, and Pepe could be just that man for the two-time winners of the Africa Cup of Nations.

1. Mohamed Salah

Possibly the most obvious one of them all, Mohamed Salah is the superstar of the tournament. He has been advertised as the face of the tournament, and with good reason.

In the last two seasons, the fleet-footed winger has been one of the main reasons why both Egypt and Liverpool have been elevated to a whole different level. The Pharaohs defied expectations to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and the Reds won the Champions League and broke their 10-year trophy drought.

Egypt will presumably not go far because of their insufficient squad depth, but writing them off with Salah in the team is not something one can afford to do, as they are capable of springing a surprise. They began their tournament with a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe.

Looking at five top stars who would be playing at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations