Goal.com's newest feature highlights the stars from Africa, and this has been a big four weeks with Afcon qualifiers, Caf Champions League semi-finals and domestic actionWelcome to Goal.com's new regular feature: Goal.com African Player of the Month.
Each month our worldwide team of editors will put forward a selected candidate, as chosen by Goal.com International, who deserves recognition for his performances over the course of the month.
Goal.com will also select an African Team of the Month as we look to provide more recognition and insight on football throughout the African continent.
|African Player of the Month | AHMED TOURE
Club: Asante Kotoko
Asante Kotoko’s Ivorian import Ahmed Toure has been phenomenal lately, and this month he kept his club in the hunt for the Ghana Premier League in its early stages.
The Porcupine Warriors beat Bechem United on October 22 courtesy of a brace from Toure and a goal from Nathaniel Asamoah. The former African champions opened the scoring through Asamoah in the first half before veteran Peter Ofori-Quaye equalised for United. Thanks to Toure, the Fabulous Boys are now at the apex of the league table.
He was on target once again this past weekend when Kotoko beat rivals Hearts of Lions 2-0 to remain top of the league.
The Porcupine Warriors talisman has told Goal.com that his aim for this term is to bring the elite division’s title home.
“I know the defenders are mapping up a strategy to silence me, but I’m coming in with a different fitness level, which will make their work difficult,” the 24-year-old stated. “I want to help Kotoko win the league because it has been a while since we won, so the players are well motivated to go in and win.”
Youssef Msakni (Esperance & Tunisia)
After a small dip in form, the 21-year-old midfielder is back to his best and signalled it by scoring in both legs of Esperance's Caf Champions League semi-final against Al Hilal of Sudan.
Msakni used his pace and precise finishing just four minutes into the first encounter in Omdurman to put his team 1-0 up, a lead they held until the final whistle. His defence splitting run into space created the opportunity and his speed and accuracy in front of goal did the rest.
Then, in Rades on October 15, the Stade Tunisien product was once again on hand to put his team in front after a nervy first half. Harrison Afful found him alone in the penalty area, and Msakni collected the ball beautifully before confidently blasting past the opposing goalkeeper.
Pascal Angan (Wydad & Benin)The Beninese midfielder scored a decisive goal two minutes from regular time in the first leg of his team's Caf Champions League semi-final encounter against Nigerian giants Enyimba. Just as it seemed that Wydad would be stifled at home, Angan rose high to meet a Yassine Lakhal cross and finished the chance with aplomb.
The return leg in Aba ended goalless, and Angan's powerful header proved just enough for the Moroccans to book their place in the final of Africa's most high-profile club tournament. Wydad fans will be hoping that he can continue his fine performances against north African rivals Esperance this month.
Chemseddine Chtibi (Maghreb de Fes & Morocco)
Chtibi scored what is surely the most dramatic goal out of the four aforementioned players as his came in the 95th minute of the second leg of a Caf Confederation Cup semi-final against Angola's Interclube.
Fes were down 2-1 on aggregate and looked to be heading out of the tournament when the playmaker received a pass well outside the box and unleashed an unstoppable strike into the upper left corner of the the visitors' net. The goal was beautiful, but what it signified was more important as it meant Chtibi's side were finalists.
|African Team of the Month | LIBYA
This year has been a momentous one for Libya on many fronts but amidst the death and devastation of a bloody civil war that began last November, there have been some positives. Namely, the freshly nicknamed 'Mediterranean Knights' who overcame divisions within their own squad to qualify for their first Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) since the 2006 edition.
The breakthrough came early this month when Marcos Paqueta's side secured a goalless away draw against Zambia in Chingola in their last 2012 Afcon qualifier. While a win would have qualified them automatically, a solitary point proved just enough for them to seal a spot in the continental showpiece as one of the best second-placed teams, at the expense of Nigeria, who paid dearly for a last-second equaliser conceded against Guinea.
With that, the Libyan national side have allowed their country to begin the post Muammar Gaddafi era with a rare chance to be represented in a positive light on the biggest African football stage. As fate would have it, the north Africans will be facing familiar opponents at the tournament since they were once again drawn in a group that pits them against the Chipolopolo as well as hosts Equatorial Guinea and a resurgent Senegal. No matter the results, given their domestic conditions, simply qualifying was nothing short of miraculous.
Club Africain (Tunisia)
After a turbulent domestic league season that was disrupted by the Tunisian uprising and marked by disappointing results for the Beb Jedid outfit, Caf Confederation Cup action represented the only chance for Club Africain to salvage a trophy this year.
Under the tutelage of the experienced Faouzi Benzarti, Biancorosso players have responded admirably by finishing top of their group to qualify for the semi-finals. The Tunisian side ousted Nigeria's Sunshine Stars this month thanks to a 1-0 away win in Ijebu Ode to book their place in the final, where they will face Morocco's MAS Fes.
SuperSport United (South Africa)
Matsatsantsa are on top of their game at the moment, following a season in which they struggled to show signs of why they were champions, finishing seventh in the PSL and taking a serious knock to their reputation. They have started the 2011-12 season with a bang, and now find themselves top of the league, following great results including a 7-0 demolition of Maritzburg United and a solid 1-0 away win against Bidvest Wits.
Maghreb de Fes (Morocco)
The Moroccans qualified for the 2011 Caf Confederation Cup final in dramatic style, sealing a home win against Interclube of Angola thanks to Chemseddine Chtibi's goal. Fes fans will not soon forget the rapturous celebrations that followed the outrageous strike and will all be hoping that their side can lift their first continental trophy when they face Tunisia's Club Africain.Do you agree with Goal.com's African Player and Team of the Month awards for October, and if not, who do you think deserves the honour...