With the second round of group matches completed in the 2010 African Nations Cup, Goal.com picks the 11 players who stood out as the best in their positions.
Fawzi Chaouchi (Algeria)
After a terrible performance in the first round of matches, Chaouchi bounced back to play an important role in the north African side’s 1-0 win over Mali, keeping a clean sheet and ensuring that the side picked up their first three points of the competition. Called into action on a number of occasions, the keeper was solid and dependable, giving confidence to his back line and closing down the attacks of the desperate Malians.
Isaac Vorsah (Ghana)
The defender was industrious and vigilant as he kept watch over Ghana's back. But for him the Black Stars would have conceded many more goals. He knows whom to tackle and at what time, but unfortunately for him, his team-mates did not come to the party. A 3-1 score line in favour of Ivory Coast does not accurately reflect the performance of the talented defender, as he certainly did his bit at the back for the Black Stars.
Wael Gomaa (Egypt)
An early contender for Player of the Tournament, Gomaa has been the best player for the best team in Angola. The veteran put his ample years of experience into practice on Saturday against Mozambique, easily repelling the likes of Tico Tico and Pelembe. Al Ahly's strapping defender again orchestrated his defensive colleagues and rarely allowed Essam El Hadary to be exposed.
Bruno Ecuele Manga (Gabon)
Highly touted as one of the players to watch prior to the Africa Cup of Nations, the player who has decided to stay in the French second division hasn't disappointed yet. After a stellar match opposite the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon where he single handedly managed to render Samuel Eto'o an afterthought for the whole game, he had a similarly impressive performance against Tunisia. Ecuele Manga is calm, collected and one of the most technically skilled players Gabon has ever produced. If he keeps it up, big name clubs are sure to come knocking.
Danny Shittu (Nigeria)
The Bolton defender brought some much-needed sanity into the Nigerian defence after the disastrous defeat to Egypt. He was instrumental in organising the defence after the injury to captain Joseph Yobo and played his heart out to keep the Benin strikers at bay, making sure the Nigerians ran away with a lone goal victory and the all-important three points.
Angola were an efficient unit against Malawi, rarely allowing the Flames to flicker. The Black Antelopes utilised the flanks expertly and in the injury-enforced absence of Gilberto, Mabina took up the charge with relish. The Petro Atletico man may be a newcomer to the international scene but he has laid down his credentials for future consideration at this tournament.
A failing of Angola in their opening AFCON fixture against Mali was their inability to take control of the midfield, instead concentrating the play down the wings. However, against Mali, the hosts were far more comfortable in possession through the centre. Alongside Stelvio, Chara gave a diligent performance. He used the ball well, making himself available, and was also unafraid to leave his foot in.
Kader Keita (Ivory Coast)
They call him a joker, and that was the role he played during the tough encounter between the Elephants and the Black Stars. Entering in the second half, Popito changed the flow of the match when the Ghanaians were mounting dangerously. His pace and sleek dribbling constrained the Ghanaians to fall into their rearguard to reinforce the defence. But Kader was able to unlock the seal with two swings and a thunder cross to captain Didier Drogba, who put the last nail in the Black Stars coffin with a header.
Didier Zokora (Ivory Coast)
The Maestro ran the show for Cote d'Ivoire against an undermanned Ghana side on Friday evening. The Sevilla man was on hand to take and receive short passes and exercised his dominance over a tender Black Stars midfield. Zokora also tried his luck from distance and looked more of a playmaker for the Elephants than a destroyer. In the absence of Romaric, he fed Gervinho and Drogba regularly and marked out the Ghanaian attackers.
Mohamadou Idrissou (Cameroon)
Substitute Mohamadou Idrissou headed the 86th-minute winner for the Indomitable Lions to complete a late scoring flurry in which Cameroon struck twice within five minutes to snatch the lead only for Zambia to level from a penalty. The SC Freiburg striker seemed to be the only Cameroon player on the pitch who really made a real effort in the game, and his efforts paid dividends in the end as he won his side three priceless points.
Mohamed Nagy (Egypt)
Defending champions Egypt have discovered a star amongst their ranks in Angola and it's not Mohamed Zidan or Emad Motaeb, but Mohamed Nagy, who has marked his Nations Cup debut with two well-taken strikes in two appearances from the bench. The youngster from Al-Ittihad of Egypt announced his arrival when he came off the bench to put his team's opening Group C match beyond Nigeria with a cracking low shot with three minutes left on the clock. He then followed up with another top-class finish for Egypt's second goal against Mozambique on Saturday, again as a substitute, as the defending champions eased into the quarter-finals. His confidence and ability to score from distance make him a dangerous player for opponents of the Pharaohs.
Vorsah Gomaa Ecuele Shittu
Mabina Chara Zokora K. Keita
Vorsah Gomaa Ecuele Shittu
Mabina Chara Zokora K. Keita
James Chamanga (Zambia)
South African Premiership side Platinum Stars were probably the only team that knew what damage this man can do in front of goal. Rigobert Song will surely wish to forget the night he endured against Chamanga, when his country beat Zambia 3-2, though many would say they did not deserve it. The Chipolopolo striker caused havoc for the usually steady Indomitable Lions and forced them to struggle in defence.
Karim Haggui (Tunisia)
After a disappointing opening encounter versus Zambia during which he looked out of position and generally out of sorts, the Tunisian captain responded with a much improved performance which was full of tidy and timely tackles against the physically imposing Gabonese front line. He also cleaned up his passing and heeded his coach's instructions not to play ineffective long balls up the pitch like he did against the Chipolopolo. If the Carthage Eagles are to defeat Cameroon in their final group match, they'll need their Bundesliga representative to put in a similar effort against the Indomitable Lions and their armada of attacking talent.
Chris Katongo (Zambia)
Although Cameroon came from behind to beat Zambia 3-2, captain fantastic really led from the front. Scoring a well placed penalty under pressure which levelled the scores at 2-2, and working together with Chamanga to expose Rigobert Song's lack of pace. Katongo is famous for scoring 15 goals in half of the South African PSL season before leaving for an overseas club and then coming back to collect his top scorers' award, as no one reached or surpassed that mark during another 15 games that Katongo did not take part in. He certainly kept Song busy, as the defender constantly resorted to illegal means to contain the striker's pace and skill.
Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana)
He proved why he was the suitable player to wear the number 10 shirt in this tournament for the Black Stars. The key player came close to scoring with a skillful turn but was denied penciling his name on the scoresheet when goalkeeper Barry made a quick save. He showed enthusiasm and fight throughout the game.
Joseph Kamwendo (Malawi)
In a game where Malawi looked like a different team to the one that beat Algeria 3-0 in the opening round, only one man stood firm and went toe to toe with an uncompromising Angolan midfield. Shakira, as he is known for his twists and turns, had a brilliant game for the Flames. His passes where spot on, but Kamwendo was trying to do it all in the Malawi midfield, winning balls and spraying passes to his team mates in search of a goal.