With the 2010 African Nations Cup won by Egypt for the third time in a row, and the tournament over for all of the 16 sides, Goal.com picks the eleven players who stood out as the best in their positions throughout the competition.
Didier Ovono (Gabon)
Widely hailed as the safest of netminders at the Africa Cup of Nations, the Gabon number one was integral to the Black Panthers' defensive diligence. The Le Mans stopper performed with a level of responsibility and dependability unseen in other goalkeepers at the tournament and displayed a safe pair of hands on shots and crosses. A real find.
Wael Gomaa (Egypt)
A veritable rock in Egypt's central defence for the entirety of their African Cup campaign and a big reason why his side only conceded two goals in Angola. Here's a player who truly embodies this generation of Pharaohs who have done the unthinkable by lifting the title on three successive occasions. Gomaa may not be the quickest centre-back, but his sense of positioning and reading of the game are top notch and his steady form allows his team-mates to venture forward in the knowledge there is cover behind them.
Samuel Inkoom (Ghana)
The youngster would be the object of interest of most scouts at the tournament in Angola. He was very versatile with his brilliant deliveries and surges forward deep into his opponents’ half to cross from the right. One of those such crosses resulted in the goal against Burkina Faso. He was disciplined and proved too strong for top strikers.
Isaac Vorsah (Ghana)
The tall and physically strong Ghana back was a force in the defence. He was always on hand to clear dangerous onslaughts through his headers and blocks. Vorsah had a good sense of marking, and knows when to push forward and when not to. He played very well in this tournament and made it difficult for Ghanaians to miss their key defender John Mensah, who was out due to injury.
Sayed Moawad (Egypt)
Closely run by Emmanuel Mbola of Zambia for the left-sided defensive berth, however, the Egyptian champion edges the battle on seniority. At 16, Mbola will surely have more chances in the future. Moawad's presence high up the field was a key feature of the Pharaohs' play and the Ahly man rarely disappointed with his accurate crossing and through balls. A bundle of energy, Moawad was not found wanting defensively either, putting in an orthodox left-back's shift when required.
Seydou Keita (Mali)
Making it into our team of the tournament despite his side going out in the group stage, the Barcelona midfielder proved his worth in the early stages as one of the players who truly stood out, working hard and scoring three goals in the competition. A stunning free-kick goal from distance to help his team to a 3-1 win over Malawi came after two goals in the opening 4-4 encounter with hosts Angola. He was unfortunate not to progress further in the Cup, but he can be pleased with his own performances.
Andre Ayew (Ghana)
The youngster came into the tournament with a lot on his shoulders having just won the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt. Since most senior players in the Ghana side were injured, his charismatic nature was important to encourage his young team to remain determined. He came out on top in their game against Burkina Faso, as his header saw an uninspiring Ghana scaling over the group stage. The left winger showed a lot of maturity and exhibited strength every time he got the ball. He was not intimidated by the physique of his opponents.
Ahmed Hassan (Egypt)
With influential midfielders Mohamed Aboutrika and Mohamed Barakat both missing out on this edition of the AFCON due injuries, the playmaking duties fell to captain Ahmed Hassan. He responded by proving that, even at 35 years of age, he is still able to shine at the highest level. Hassan was coach Shehata's on-field deputy, and made sure that his team-mates were in position and also was the orchestrator of most of their attacking moves. He scored three goals in the tourney, two of which came in the quarter-final against Cameroon as he earned his 170th international cap to break Hossam Hassan's national team appearance record. His accomplishments and on-field production make him worthy of the player of the tournament trophy he received.
Gilberto joins his Ahly team-mates Gomaa, Moawad and Hassan in the line-up, providing evidence of the Egyptian side's splendid array of talent. The Angola winger gave the Black Antelopes a creative attacking dimension, either as an out-and-out left winger or as a midfield playmaker. A constant threat in possession, Gilberto gave Manuel Jose a sharp edge at the business end.
Mohamed Nagy Gedo (Egypt)
Undoubtedly the breakout player of the competition, Mohamed Nagy Gedo came out of nowhere to shoot to stardom in Angola. Some initially questioned his coach's decision to include him in the team ahead of a known quantity in Mido but Shehata has been more than vindicated in his inspired choice. The Ittihad Al Sakandary forward came on an as a substitute in six matches and efficiently scored five killer goals, including the tournament-winner, to take home the golden boot. One can be safe in expecting to see him in Europe very soon.
Asamoah Gyan (Ghana)
Ghana's only genuine goalscoring threat helped take his side to the final with a series of decisive strikes. The Rennes forward scored three times in five matches, including the vital goals in the 1-0 wins over Angola and Nigeria in the knockout stages. So close to abandoning the Black Stars after perceived criticism two years ago, Gyan is now a leading offensive light in the line-up.
Gilberto Ayew Keita Hassan
Moawad Inkoom Gomaa Vorsah
Richard Kingson (Ghana)
The Wigan goalkeeper brought his experience to bear in the tournament as he captained his side to the runners-up spot. He really made his presence felt in his fifth appearance at the tournament, especially in the game against Nigeria. He made some brilliant saves and, despite a thigh injury, he went into the game against Nigeria to rally his inexperienced side as they secured a final berth against Egypt.
Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana)
The Udinese midfielder made it tough for his opponents in the midfield with his skills and creativity. He knew how to caress the ball, was fast and created space around him with the slightest chance. Asamoah broke the hearts of host Angola with that splendid pass from the centre to striker Asamoah Gyan that earned his side the victory. He was the Black Stars’ creative force and proved to be worth the number 10 shirt.
The Al-Shabab front man lit up the group stage with his goals against Mali and Malawi but drew blanks against Ghana. Always a danger due to his incessant movement, Flavio scored two goals in the opening match when he was a doubt through injury. He stood out for the hosts as someone to rely on up front.
Gervinho (Ivory Coast)
Although, Ivory Coast's Elephants didn't live up to expectations, Gervinho could be singled out as one player who accomplished his personal mission. The 22-year-old Lille forward is a very pacy attacker with sharp force of penetration, capable of alternating between both flanks and knows how to take shots from distance. No wonder he is Ligue 1's top scorer.
Peter Odemwingie (Nigeria)
The Super Eagles of Nigeria disappointed as a whole, but a great deal of plaudits must go to the Russian-born Nigerian international who stood out for them in the tournament. Odemwingie found the back of the net before and after the interval against Mozambique to steer them into the quarter-finals, and good work from him allowed them to move onto the semi-finals before being knocked out. His ability gave confidence to the other Nigerians on the pitch, and he will be crucial to their prospects at the World Cup later this year.
Jacob Mulenga (Zambia)
Herve Renard asks a lot of his front men Jacob Mulenga and James Chamanga, and it's not only goalscoring demanded by the French tactician. Mulenga and Chamanga were effectively the first line of defence too for the Chipolopolo, hassling and harrying high up the field. Mulenga just gets the nod for his superior goal output.
The Angolan midfielder was a constant threat for the hosts in their group matches at the tournament, standing out as a superb player and an interesting prospect for clubs on the lookout for talented wingers. Hard work from Mabina and the other Angolan midfielders had a great deal to do with the successful campaign they had in the 2010 African Nations Cup, which saw the hosts top Group A.
Madjid Bougherra (Algeria)
The Algerian defender was one of the Fennecs’ most consistent players throughout the tournament, defending admirably whilst surging forward on the attack to help his team in their push to the semi-finals, where they were knocked out by eventual winners Egypt. A fourth place finish was just consolation for Algeria, but Bougherra can be happy with his performances at Angola 2010.
Felix Katongo (Zambia)
He was probably the most spectacular man on the pitch in Zambia’s impressive and unexpected win against Gabon. His silky footwork and perfect combination with Mulenga in the midfield contributed to the Gabonese downfall. He was a player to watch in the competition, as his performances were consistently good from the first game of the group stage, until they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by an undeserving Nigerian side.
Alexandre Song (Cameroon)
One of the most consistent of the Indomitable Lions on display in Angola, the Arsenal midfielder did his best to help Cameroon to progress as far as possible in the tournament with his hard work in midfield and quick attacking bursts and through balls. It was not to be for his side however, and they crashed out in the quarter-finals of the competition.