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Africa U23 Cup of Nations

U23 Africa Cup of Nations: Top five players of the tournament

7:22 AM SGT 25/11/19
Evans Mensah Ghana 2019 U23 Africa Cup of Nations
Who were the standout stars of the U23 Afcon?

  • Mohamed Mostafa of Egypt

    Mostafa Mohamed

    We begin with Mohamed, who ends the campaign as top scorer after netting four en route to the title.

    The SC Zamalek hitman has taken his time to establish himself at the Cairene giants, but as he demonstrated on home soil, he boasts physicality, intelligence and—most importantly—a goalscoring touch.

    Mohamed excelled during the group stage, with the winner against Mali, a double against Cameroon and the equaliser against Ghana, and he can use this tournament as a launchpad to future successes.

    The six footer has already represented Egypt’s senior side, having made his debut in March, and expect him to build on his pair of international caps to date.

  • Evans Mensah Ghana 2019 Africa U23 Cup of Nations

    Evans Mensah

    The only West African player to make our top five, Ghana’s Mensah excelled for the Black Meteors and didn’t deserve to be on the losing team when they were defeated by South Africa in the Olympic playoff.

    The 21-year-old winger boosted his reputation significantly in Egypt, with a series of performances that caused consistent problems for opposition backlines and also had an end product, including, memorably the 92nd-minute equaliser against the Ivory Coast in the semis.

    Mensah needs to escape HJK of Finland in search of a more challenging league, but if he can build on his showings to date, then expect Kwesi Appiah to be picking up the phone.

  • Ramadan Sobhi -  Egypt U23

    Ramadan Sobhy

    The highest profile player in the tournament heading into the competition, Sobhy certainly lived up to his billing, in a campaign which could prove to be the start of a renaissance for the wideman.

    Having flopped in England with Stoke City and Huddersfield Town, Sobhy returned to Egypt to rediscover his top form, and on the evidence of the U-23 Afcon, he’s getting back to his best.

    As well as mesmerising defences with his dribbling, he equalised against Ghana, opened the scoring against South Africa, and then bagged the winner in the final against the Ivory Coast—a star is (re)born!

  • Tercious Malepe, South Africa, June 2019

    Tercious Malepe

    Ahead of the tournament, it appeared as though Chippa United’s Malepe would miss out, with his club side refusing to release him after insisting that he was required for domestic duties.

    However, the South Africa U-23 was finally released after picking up a red card, ruling him out United matches and therefore allowing him to join up with David Notoane’s side.

    The defender was influential as SA qualified for the Olympics, defeating Ghana on penalties in the third-placed playoff. He delivered a series of solid, commanding displays, and appears destined to make his mark at parent club Orlando Pirates before too long.

  • Mohamed Sobhy of Egypt

    Mohamed Sobhy

    Egypt’s defensive record en route to the title was excellent, with goalkeeper Sobhy playing an influential role in several resolute showings at the back.

    He kept clean sheets against Mali and South Africa (in the semi-final), and made a series of fine stops in the final victory over the Ivory Coast.

    Notably, Sobhy’s save to deny Mali’s Ali Malle in the Pharaohs’ opener set the tone for the rest of the campaign.

    The 20-year-old, who signed for SC Zamalek from Petrojet earlier this year, appears destined for a bright future.