Rabu, 18 Januari 2012

Top 10 players to watch at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations

10. MANUCHO (Angola)
The 28-year-old was immense throughout the qualifying campaign and scored four of the Palancas Negras' seven goals. Manucho is not new to the tournament and is well known for scoring spectacular goals at the 2008 and 2010 editions.

During his days at Manchester United, manager Sir Alex Ferguson described him as “a tall, agile, quick forward”. This is another platform where Manucho will be able the fly the flag of Angola with pride, and look to catch the eye of potential suitors along the way.

9. ADEL TAARABT (Morocco)
The 22-year-old was the star player in QPR's campaign to gain promotion to the prestigious Premier League, although he has struggled in the top flight this term.

The Morocco international scored in the final 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Tanzania and was voted Man of the Match as he helped earn the Afcon ticket for the Atlas Lions. Despite his youth, the north African country expects him to bring his bravery and can-do spirit on board.

8. ISSAM JEMAA (Tunisia)
The former Esperance player was the top scorer in the 2012 Nations Cup qualifying campaign with six goals to his name for the Carthage Eagles.

His experience is vital, as he has been to the Afcon twice - in 2008 and 2010 - and he has matured with time. The 27-year-old has 26 goals for his national team and is regarded highly in terms of his contribution to the Tunisian setup, as well as his ability to change games.

The 25-year-old is Ghana’s top striker at the moment, and was a constant threat for the Black Stars in international matches in 2011, memorably scoring in a 1-1 draw with England in London.

At club level, 'Baby Jet' was a revelation in his first Premier League season. Prior to his surprise loan move to Al Ain, Gyan scored 11 goals in 33 matches for Sunderland in all competitions. He carried the Black Stars on his shoulders in Angola, and the country will bank their hopes on him to deliver the goals again.

6. GERVINHO (Ivory Coast)
The Ivorian recorded 15 goals and 10 assists during the 2010-11 season to give his former club Lille their first trophy in 47 years.

He was instrumental in helping the Ligue 1 outfit win the French Cup ahead of his move to Arsenal in 2011, where he has been in fine form since. He scored three goals in the 2012 Afcon qualifiers to help Ivory Coast book a ticket to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, and he is expected to be a protagonist at the finals.

5. MOUSSA SOW (Senegal)
The 25-year-old France-born Senegalese striker won the French championship and French Cup with Lille last season. He scored 25 goals in Ligue 1, including two hat-tricks.

He stood out in the Teranga Lions' Afcon qualifiers while scoring five goals, allowing Senegal to top their group and qualify for the tournament ahead of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. Sow will be the major source of fire-power upfront for the Senegalese.

4. ANDRE AYEW (Ghana)
The 22-year-old is Ghana's charismatic young midfielder. The son of football legend Abedi Pele has carved a niche for himself since 2009, when he led a new generation of young Ghanaians to clinch Africa’s first Under-20 World Cup title.

Ayew helped Marseille to a second-place finish in the French Ligue 1 last season; he also won the League Cup and the Super Cup and was voted the club’s best player by supporters. He was top-class at Angola 2010 and more is expected of him in 2012.

3. DIDIER DROGBA (Ivory Coast)
The Ivorian striker was inconsistent last season due to injuries and a lack of regular football, but the little that was seen of the veteran was certainly impressive. Drogba netted 12 times in the Premier League and inspired Chelsea on many occasions. This term he has six goals.

At national team level, the Elephants captain bagged four goals in their Afcon qualifiers to earn them a ticket to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. He is not new to the Nations Cup, and is expected be one of the key players on the pitch.

The Malian is one of Africa’s finest. His role with the Spanish giants has helped shape his career. He won his second Uefa Champions League trophy with Barcelona in 2011, while also capturing his third consecutive La Liga title.

Other medals flashing in his cabinet include the European Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup, while finishing as a runner-up in the Copa del Rey. Keita also contributed to his national team, helping Mali secure a spot at the 2012 Afcon, and acting as one of the veteran stars of the side, a leader and a role model for his team-mates.

1. YAYA TOURE (Ivory Coast)
The 28-year-old displayed incredible form during 2011 at club level. He is a pivotal player at Manchester City. He helped his side to win the FA Cup last season, scoring against Manchester United in the last-four to progress to the final of the competition, where he scored the match-winner against a resilient Stoke City.

Toure has been splendid in his country’s path to the 2012 Afcon, giving his best in every game he played. He will be aiming to lift the Nations Cup trophy on February 12.

source: http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2886/africa/2012/01/16/2849957/didier-drogba-asamoah-gyan-the-top-10-players-to-watch-at

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