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WAFU Cup of Nations

Wafu Cup: Top five players to watch

10:33 am AEST 28/9/19
Wafu final: Nigeria vs. Ghana
Hosts Senegal will set the ball rolling against Guinea-Bissau at the West African tournament on Saturday

The West Africa Football Union (Wafu) Cup of Nations kicks off in Senegal on Saturday, as the region's sides look to win the crown that Ghana clinched two years ago.

Ahead of the big Wafu Cup kick-off, Goal introduce our five players to watch this tournament, with these five names set to light up the tournament and potentially attract the interest of European clubs.

Ibrahim Sanusi (Nigeria)

The Nasarawa United forward goes into this tournament on a high after finishing the last Nigeria Professional Football League as joint top-scorer with Akwa United’s Mfon Udoh on 10 goals each.

The young attacker has already been tipped for a move to Europe, and is widely expected to be one of Nigeria’s star performers.

He is also part of Nigeria’s African Nations Championship set-up, and is slowly gaining international experience.

Sanusi scored the Super Eagles' only goal in the 4-1 defeat by Togo in Chan qualifiication, and will be one of Nigeria's main goal threats in Senegal.

Justice Blay (Ghana)

The 27-year-old defensive midfielder is one of the more experienced players in the Ghana team.

He has been part of the Black Stars national team of home-based players in recent years, and has the potential to make his mark in Senegal.

On a season loan at Asante Kotoko, where he has already made an impact in the Caf Champions League this season, Blay may secure a switch to one of Africa's bigger leagues ahead of a return to parent club Medeama SC.

Assane Mbodji (Senegal)

Diaraf's attacking midfielder is one of the Senegal players who will be counted on to help the hosts go the distance in front of their own fans, and ensure home supporters can forget about their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final defeat.

He recently scored the winner in the Teranga Lions' Chan qualifying first leg with an 85th-minute drive against Guinea, and expect more heroics in Thies.

Richard Nane (Togo)

The Togo hero arrives at the Wafu tournament having grabbed a brace in the 4-1 lashing of Nigeria in a 2020 Chan qualifier last weekend.

His recent exploits might be the tonic Nane needed going into this tournament, where he is expected to be one of Togo’s standout players.

Leadership and tenacity are among Nane's key qualities.

Mark Karlay (Liberia)

Karlay will be one of the Liberian players expected to give the Lone Stars an attacking edge in Senegal. 

Jestino Jackson hasn't made the cut, but Karlay and fellow forward Mark Yallah, who scored 38 goals among them in the second tier last term.

It remains to be seen whether he can translate this goalscoring form to the Liberian top tier, and LISCR FC, but the Wafu Cup provides an ideal environment for the attacker to demonstrate that he belongs at a higher level.