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Emerging Rising Stars to Shine at AFCON 2023

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Football enthusiasts are eagerly gearing up for the 34th edition of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, set to kick off in Côte d’Ivoire on Saturday. While seasoned players like Victor Osimhen, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mane will undoubtedly command attention, the tournament also promises to be a stage for emerging talents to make a mark. Here are some anticipated promising talents:

**Issa Kabore, 22, (Burkina Faso):** The attacking right-back from Burkina Faso, Issa Kabore, currently on loan at Luton Town from Manchester City, aims to replicate the success of the previous edition where he was voted AFCON’s Best Young Player.

**Victor Boniface (Nigeria):** The 23-year-old forward, Victor Boniface, has been a standout performer at Bayer Leverkusen, leading the Bundesliga’s Player of the Month charts. With 16 goals this season, Boniface brings a dynamic flair to Nigeria’s forward line.

**Ernest Nuamah (Ghana):** Crowned the best young player and player of the season for 2022/23 while at FC Nordsjaelland, Lyon winger Ernest Nuamah, known for his fantastic left foot, is set to dazzle fans with his individual brilliance.

**Montassar Talbi (Tunisia):** A promising 25-year-old center-back making waves in Ligue 1, Talbi’s maturity and composure on the ball make him a key figure in Tunisia’s defense, hinting at a bright future for the nation.

**Kamory Doumbia (Mali):** In red-hot form, Kamory Doumbia is a prolific goal-scorer, averaging a goal or assist every 50 minutes in Ligue 1. With 5 goals and 1 assist in 8 games for Mali, Doumbia adds firepower to the team.

**Alhassan Yusuf (Nigeria):** A late addition to the Super Eagles, the 23-year-old midfielder Alhassan Yusuf, a regular for Royal Antwerp in Belgium, brings both experience and consistency to the Nigerian squad.

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**Bilal El Khannouss (Morocco):** The 19-year-old Genk midfielder, Bilal El Khannouss, is an exciting teenager in Belgium, making 20 appearances this season and earning a spot in the Atlas Lions squad.

**Ousmane Diomande (Cote d’Ivoire):** At just 20 years old, Diomande, a brilliant defender from Sporting Lisbon, showcases his talent after a stellar half-season, making 21 appearances and contributing goals and assists.

**Karim Konate (Cote d’Ivoire):** The 19-year-old Red Bull Salzburg center-forward, Karim Konate, has been impressive this season, finding the back of the net eight times in 17 games.

**Hugo Buyla (Equatorial Guinea):** The 19-year-old Atalanta defender, Hugo Buyla, on loan at Sampdoria, adds defensive strength to Equatorial Guinea, having made six appearances in the Italian Serie B.

**Pape Matar Sarr (Senegal):** The 21-year-old midfielder, CAF 2022 Young Player of the Year, will be a key presence in Senegal’s midfield, displaying his exceptional skills.

**Franculino Dju (Guinea-Bissau):** An emerging talent from FC Midtjylland, the 19-year-old Franculino Dju, has already made a mark in the Danish Superligaen, showcasing his goal-scoring prowess.

**Lamine Camara (Senegal):** Despite Metz’s form, 20-year-old midfielder Lamine Camara has impressed, scoring and providing assists. He’ll play a crucial role as Senegal aims to retain the AFCON title.

**Ilaix Moriba (Guinea):** Former Barcelona youngster, Ilaix Moriba, now playing for RB Leipzig, brings versatility to Guinea’s midfield, capable of playing in central, defensive, and attacking roles.

**Zito Luvumbo (Angola):** The 21-year-old Cagliari midfielder, Zito Luvumbo, looks to lead Angola with his experience gained from winning the COSAFA U17 cup in 2018 and eight senior national team appearances.

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