The Africa Cup of Nations is a hotspot for European clubs to scout amazingly underrated young prospects, with some of the beneficiaries of said treatment being Samuel Eto'o, Naby Keita, Mohamed Salah etc.
Most of the teams that participate also employ these young players in their preferred positions with a desire to promote their potential to the scouts, as confessed by many a head coach. In a tournament where winning is not the only thing that counts, here are five youngsters to look out for.
5. Sekou Koita
The Malian Under-20 international has been called up to the senior team for the first time and his highlight reel would show why. A left footed forward who is capable of playing across all 3 forward positions effectively and able to contribute goals and assists instead of merely needless dribbling.
His pace and crossing is something to look out for, but a lethal left footed strike from distance is not far away.
4. Henry Onyekuru
The Everton forward was well in line for a role in the first team this season, but was forced to go out on loan due to the work permit problems non-European players face in the aftermath of the announcement of Brexit.
Having spent the whole season in Turkey with Galatasaray, Onyekuru scored 16 goals and assisted 6 times in 44 appearances for the Super Lig champions and will start as Nigeria's first choice striker.
3. Ismael Bennacer
Ismael Bennacer has been one of the standout performers for relegated Empoli in the Serie A, even attracting interest from the likes of Napoli and Juventus with his breathtaking performances in the centre of the park.
The Algerian international will start alongside Adlene Guediora and will no doubt be a formidable, tenacious presence, attracting a lot of suitors during the tournament.
2. Samuel Chukwueze
Villarreal's diminutive dynamite Samuel Chukwueze has been the Yellow Submarine's brightest spot amidst a season of darkness. Providing considerable invention and goalscoring threat down the right flank, the Nigerian international was a contender for the La Liga young player of the season and for good reason.
The Super Eagles have a very realistic chance of securing the AFCON title, and that is primarily due to their inventive front four.
1. Ismaila Sarr
Ismaila Sarr was one of the Europa League 2018/19's best players, absolutely bossing his flank and destroying every full back he came up against for Ligue 1 side Rennes.
The Senegal international will be a key component down the right wing, and the strong roster of Sadio Mane and Balde Keita up front will make the Lions truly fearsome for every defence coming their way.
Five youngsters to look out for at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations