AFCON 2023: Ranking the Top 5 Players Who Shone Brightest After Match Day One Featuring Ounahi

AFCON 2023: Ranking the Top 5 Players Who Shone Brightest After Match Day One Featuring Ounahi

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at January 18, 2024 at 12:03 PM
In this article:
Azz-Eddine Ounahi logo
A. Ounahi
Marseille logoMMorocco logo
Azzedine Ounahi logo
Azzedine Ounahi
Seko Fofana logo
S. Fofana
Al-Ettifaq FC logoMIvory Coast logo
Lamine Camara logo
L. Camara
Metz logoMSenegal logo
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
Ivory Coast logo
Cote DIvoire
Ivory Coast
Morocco logo
Namibia logo
Senegal logo
  • A total of 27 goals were scored from 12 games after the first round of matches
  • Matchday one brought its own surprises while giving birth to top performers
  • Here is a look at the top five stars who shone after round one of the 2023 AFCON

Abidjan- Côte d’Ivoire. And just like that, the initial round of matches in the ongoing 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations has concluded with a diverse range of results.

Established teams like four-time African champions Ghana and the 2004 winners Tunisia faced surprising defeats against less-favoured opponents, while football powerhouses such as Nigeria, Algeria, and Egypt had to settle for just a point on day one.

Azzedine Ounahi, Morocco, Lamine Camara, Senegal, Seko Fofana, Coted'Ivoire, AFCON, top, performers
Seko Fofana, Azzedine Ounahi and Lamine Camara starred after the first round of games. Photos by DeFodi Images.
Source: Getty Images

Sports Brief delves into the standout performers who illuminated the opening round of games as the next match day approaches.

5. Yoane Wissa

Yoane Wissa found the back of the net as the Democratic Republic of Congo rallied to secure a 1-1 draw against Zambia in their opening group game at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Despite their control of the game, the Leopards had to mount a comeback, and it was Yoane Wissa who made the difference.

The Brentford attacker clinically finished a well-delivered pass from Cedric Bakambu.

While his teammates struggled to convert their opportunities, the 27-year-old calmly scored his chance and earned the man-of-the-match accolade for his overall performance.

4. Deon Hotto

Tunisia suffered a surprising 1-0 loss to Namibia in their Africa Cup of Nations opener in Korhogo, with South Africa-based striker Deon Hotto playing a crucial role.

Hotto secured the victory with a headed goal in the 88th minute, connecting with a cross from substitute Bethuel Muzeu.

This historic win marked Namibia's first-ever triumph in the tournament, coming in their 10th attempt across four appearances at the continental showpiece.

3. Seko Fofana

The midfield powerhouse, who plays for Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League, opened the scoring in the 34th edition of Africa's football festival with a spectacular goal from just outside the box, per GOAL.

Apart from his goal-scoring contribution, the former RC Lens captain played a pivotal role in the midfield for Cote d'Ivoire.

He excelled in controlling possession and acted as the primary playmaker, driving the Elephants forward in pursuit of goals.

As a result of his outstanding performance at the Stade Alassane Ouattara, he rightfully earned the Man of the Match award, contributing significantly to the host nation's three-point victory against Guinea-Bissau.

2. Lamine Camara

Is there more to say about the Senegalese prodigy?

Following his standout performances and winning the MVP award in Senegal's U20 AFCON triumph in 2023, coupled with being recognized as the best young player at the African Nations Championship, Camara is transforming his debut AFCON into a memorable experience.

At just 20 years old, he became the first player to score a brace at the ongoing tournament, contributing significantly to Senegal's impressive 3-0 victory over Gambia as they kickstarted their tournament defence, per One Football.

Camara's versatility as a box-to-box player, marked by a robust midfield presence, excels in ball recovery, precise passing, and offensive flair, makes him a standout talent on the African football stage.

1. Azzedine Ounahi

The icing on the Moroccan cake, Azzedine Ounahi, has proven to be an absolute gem early on.

His exceptional performance during the 81 minutes he spent on the pitch, helping favourites Morocco begin their AFCON quest on a winning note, was noteworthy.

The Marseille star's splendid goal stood out in his side's convincing victory over Tanzania in their Group F opener at the Stade Laurent Poku in San Pedro, Eurosport reports.

Having already showcased his talent at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the 23-year-old ensured that the Atlas Lions roared the loudest after the first round, securing a decisive win against the Taifa Stars and earning the well-deserved MVP accolade.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.