Rising Stars: Five Young African Footballers Poised to Shine Post AFCON 2023

Rising Stars: Five Young African Footballers Poised to Shine Post AFCON 2023

Robert Abong'o
updated at February 14, 2024 at 8:18 AM
In this article:
CAF African Nations Championship logo
CAF African Nations Championship
Thapelo Maseko logo
--South Africa logo
Nene Dorgeles logo
Red Bull Salzburg logoFMali logo
Oumar diakite
FC Liefering logo--
Paris FC logoMFrance logo
Lamine Camara logo
L. Camara
Metz logoMSenegal logo
Bilal El Khannouss logo
B. El Khannous
Racing Genk logoMMorocco logo
  • FIFA has listed five top talents to watch this year after AFCON 2023 tournament
  • Host nation, Ivory Coast, beat favourites, Nigeria, in a dramatic final in Abidjan
  • The Elephants' pacey 20-year-old winger is among five youngsters listed by FIFA

The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 concluded in a blaze of glory, with Côte d’Ivoire lifting the coveted trophy amid euphoric scenes in Abidjan.

The hosts came from a goal down to beat Nigeria in the final and complete the most remarkable of sporting redemptions.

Young satbdout players at AFCON 2023. Photos: Ulrik Pedersen and Beloumou Olomo.
Mali midfielder Nene Dorgeles, Senegal’s Lamine Camara, and Ivory Coast’s Oumar Diakite stood out at the AFCON 2023. Photos: Ulrik Pedersen and Beloumou Olomo.
Source: Getty Images

As the dust settles on the tournament, attention now turns to the emerging talents who illuminated the stage and are primed to make waves in the footballing world this year.

FIFA has listed five top talents to keep a close eye on following the nail-biting tournament in Ivory Coast.

FIFA's five rising African stars

Lamine Camara (Senegal)

At just 20 years old, Camara stamped his authority with his electrifying performances. The Metz midfielder announced his arrival at the Stade Charles Konan Banny Stadium with a stunning brace against Gambia on January 15, earning the Man of the Match award.

“I am happy with this recognition. This is the result of the hard work that we all did. Winning the first match remains a good thing,” said Camara, as quoted by CAF Online.

Oumar Diakite (Côte d’Ivoire)

Diakite etched his name into AFCON folklore with a breathtaking last-minute winner against Mali, igniting scenes of jubilation across his homeland. The Reims attacker's heroics at the Peace Stadium of Bouaké on February 3 brought out his potential, despite a brief setback due to suspension.

Nene Dorgeles (Mali)

Dorgeles showcased his talent with a mesmerising goal against the hosts in the quarter-finals, showcasing his ability to dazzle defenders with ease. With aspirations of representing Mali in the Olympics, the RB Salzburg forward is set to be a key figure in his country's quest for glory in upcoming tournaments.

Bilal El Khannouss (Morocco)

El Khannouss' steady rise continued in Abidjan after his impressive 2022 Qatar World Cup showing, where he emerged as a standout performer despite his tender age. The Atlas Lions beat Portugal 1-0 to become the first African nation to reach the tournament's semi-final.

The Genk midfielder's inclusion in Walid Regradui's World Cup 2026 qualifying squad has underscored his growing stature in football, as he aims to add to his expanding reputation on the international stage.

Thapelo Maseko (South Africa)

Despite his diminutive stature, Maseko's impact was anything but small, as he notched a crucial goal against Namibia before succumbing to injury in a Group E match on January 21. The Mamelodi Sundowns winger's resilience and talent make him a vital asset for Bafana Bafana as they navigate through the rigours of World Cup qualifying.

Listing AFCON 2023's breakout stars

Sports Brief also reported that Ivory Coast star, Simon Adingra and Nigeria's Stanley Nwabali were among the breakout stars at AFCON 2023.

The host nation's redemption story dominated the continental tournament, with the big teams like Senegal and Morocco exiting quite early on.

A couple of players, however, maximised on Africa's biggest football stage to announce themselves to the world and are poised for greater things.

Robert Abong'o photo
Robert Abong'o
Editor - Africa Team