AFCON Team Of The Tournament: Ivory Coast, Nigeria stars dominate continental showpiece

AFCON Team Of The Tournament: Ivory Coast, Nigeria stars dominate continental showpiece

The African Cup of Nations (AFCON) had a euphoric conclusion on Sunday (Feb 11) after hosts Ivory Coast beat Nigeria in a close final at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan. The 2-1 win saw Ivory Coast become the first host nation since Egypt in 2006 to win the tournament. However, the tournament had no shortage of drama and unknown quantities producing their best on the biggest continental platform. With Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and others producing their best, here is a look at the AFCON team of the tournament.

AFCON Team Of The Tournament

Goalkeeper – Ronw en Williams (South Africa)

One of the highlight reels of the AFCON, Ronwen Williams made four saves in the penalty shootout win in the quarterfinal for South Africa. The numbers game gets even better when explored, saved four penalties in a quarterfinal shootout, won South Africa the third-place playoff and kept four clean sheets. He also produced the save of the tournament to have the accolade of being in the team of the tournament.

Right-back – Ola Aina (Nigeria)

Leading from the defence to offense, Ola Aina led Nigeria to the final having played a crucial role in the team’s run in the knockout stage.

Centre-back – William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria)

More than just a center back, William Troost-Ekong was an example of how to carry the weight of the nation, before ending on the runners-up podium. Troost-Ekong will go down as one of the best products from the African nation overshadowing the prowess of Victor Osimhen.

Centre-back – Logan Costa (Cape Verde)

Conceding only three goals in the entire tournament, Logan Costa was the man of the moment for Cape Verde before they were knocked out on penalties in the quarterfinal of the AFCON.

Left-back – Arthur Masuaku (DR Congo)

A former West Ham man, Arthur Masuaku was enjoying the form of life at the AFCON and led DR Congo from the front. He completed the most dribbles and looked unmatched in the left-back position.

Central midfielder – Teboho Mokoena (South Africa)

Teboho Mokoena’s AFCON could be defined by his missed penalty in the shootout defeat to Nigeria. However, the 27-year-old was the perfect midfielder in the tournament, reminding of the Yaya Toure of Manchester City. His flawless performance almost saw South Africa reach the final and win the AFCON for the first time since 1996.

Central midfielder – Alex Iwobi (Nigeria)

The former Arsenal man has redefined himself after some impressive stints for the nation in the AFCON. He contributed in both the defensive and attacking third before bossing the midfield.

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Central midfielder – Franck Kessié (Ivory Coast)

A player who has been with big clubs in Europe and never fulfilled his potential, Kessie was at his fluent best in the AFCON and led Ivory Coast to their first title since 2015. He was the ideal presence in the knockout and scored in the final to equalize for the hosts.

Forward – Gelson Dala (Angola)

With four goals at the AFCON, Gelson Dala was scouted briefly by some European clubs and was impressive in the tournament. He scored two braces in the tournament and led the side to top their group before bowing out in the quarterfinal of the tournament.

Forward – Ademola Lookman (Nigeria)

A player who has reinvented himself after some unimpressive stints with European giant clubs, Ademola Lookman was the most impressive player in the side in the attacking front ahead of Napoli hotshot Victor Osimhen.

Striker – Emilio Nsue (Equatorial Guinea)

Sebastian Haller might have stolen the headlines for the semifinal and the final in striking terms, but Equatorial Guinea’s Emilio Nsue was the biggest surprise of the tournament. Nsue who plays as a right–back for his club CF Intercity in the Spanish third division scored a hat-trick Ivory Coast and was the Golden Boot winner and made the headlines at the age of 34.