The Beautiful African Game: Players and Places

Date:

The 32nd Africa Cup of Nations is set to take place in Egypt from 21 June to 9 July. Here is a round up of the tournament legends, venues and players to watch.

Three Players To Watch 

Senegal forward Sadio Mane OLLY GREENWOOD/AFP/Getty Images
Senegal forward Sadio Mane OLLY GREENWOOD/AFP/Getty Images

Sadio Mané: Senegal’s lead attacker is the best performing African player of 2019, with his Liverpool form winning him international notoriety. He has also proven capable of replicating that for his national team as shown at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

South Africa's forward Percy Tau vies for the ball with Libya's defender Sanad Al-Warfali during the 2019 AFCON Group E qualifier football match between Libya and South Africa at Stade Taieb Mhiri in the Tunisian city of Sfax on March 24, 2019. FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images
South Africa’s forward Percy Tau left. FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images

Percy Tau: The 24-year-old South African could not get a work permit to play in England but a year on loan in Belgium has made him a much more patient and devastating footballer, and he will carry Bafana Bafana’s hopes at the tournament.

Hakim Ziyach Photo by Mike Kireev/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Hakim Ziyach Photo by Mike Kireev/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Hakim Ziyech: This skillful if somewhat mercurial Dutch-born Moroccan midfielder played a large part of Ajax Amsterdam’s run in this year’s Champions League competition. His early development was affected by disciplinary problems, but he seems to have matured considerably.

Tournament Legends 

Hassan Ahmed, Egypt  (Photo by Adam Davy - EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images)
Hassan Ahmed, Egypt (Photo by Adam Davy – EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images)

Ahmed Hassan: The elegant Egyptian midfielder best symbolises the dominance Egypt enjoyed when it won three trophies consecutively between 2006 and 2010 as he led the team.

He is the only player to have competed in four tournament finals, also playing and scoring in the 1998 decider in Burkina Faso.

Samuel Eto'o. Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images
Samuel Eto’o. Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Samuel Eto’o: Cameroon’s star striker played at six Nations Cup finals and netted 18 goals, the most in the history of the tournaments. Still playing at club level in Qatar, Eto’o won Champions League titles with the likes of Barcelona and Inter Milan, and was also briefly on Chelsea’s books.

Nigeria's head coach Stephen Keshi. Photo: STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images
Nigeria’s head coach Stephen Keshi. Photo: STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images

Stephen Keshi: The Nigerian centre back was in the twilight of his playing days when captaining the Super Eagles to the crown in 1994. He returned as coach 19 years later to show his leadership again as Nigeria emerged as surprise victors of the 2013 edition in South Africa.

Venues

Cairo 

International Stadium, June 30 Stadium, Al Salaam Stadium

The ancient wonders of the world sit astride a bustling city, where football is an obsession. Be it on the city’s dusty streets, in its colourful markets or next to pyramids or the Sphinx, there is always someone kicking a ball. Cairo’s cavernous International Stadium will host the opening match and the final, and the June 30 and Al-Salam stadia will also be used.

Alexandria

Alexandria Stadium

Alexander the Great founded this port city on the Mediterranean. The Library of Alexandria dates back to the third century BCE. The Corniche stretches all along the bay for long, lazy walks when the sun sets. The Alexandria Stadium, one of three in the city, is being used for the Nations Cup.

Football fans in the City of Ismailia Photo: KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Football fans in the City of Ismailia Photo: KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Ismailia

Ismailia Stadium

The city sits on the northern highway to Port Said, some 90 minutes’ drive from Cairo. Its museums draw tourists from all over the world.

Suez 

Suez Stadium

The Suez Port sits at the top of the Gulf of Suez, a crossroads for travellers on the ancient trade routes. But after the Six-Day War with Israel in 1967, it has undergone major renovations.

Find out more about the teams to watch here.

Words by Nick Said

spot_img

Share post:

spot_imgspot_img

Popular

More like this
Related

A business traveller’s guide to flu season

Flu season is in full swing in South Africa...

Capturing the plight of the Great White

From capturing the flight of South Africa's Great White...

Australia by train 

One of the world’s most beautiful and luxurious rail...

Beat the Schengen visa blues

The rejection rate for African applicants seeking Schengen visas...