The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Cameroon has made headlines in Europe as divided opinions continue to emerge among pundits on whether it’s the right call for African players to represent their nations amidist the Covid 19 pandemic.
All this does not make sense and if it was a European championship going on it would be a privilege for players representing their nations, some statements from known journalist still bring out how the Africans are still under colonisation from Europe.
Ghana – The Black stars to light up the skies of AFCON
The Black stars of Ghana have faced a huge problem of players refusing to respond to national team calls and keeping their focus on the clubs they play for, they will miss Southampton player Mohammed Salisu who turned down the call to play for Ghana.
Ghana’s strength lies in the return of the Serbian Head coach Milovan Rajevac after a eleven (11) year spell. He led the black stars to the 2010 world cup in South Africa and his main task will be to see if he can add on the AFCON trophies as he aims for the fifth with his star studded squad led by Andre Ayew.
The black stars are currently campped in Qatar where they will face Algeria in a friendly match.
Here is the provisional 30 man squad
GOALKEEPERS: Joseph Wolacott (Swindon Town, England), Abdul Manaf Nurudeen (Eupen, Belgium), Richard Attah (Hearts of Oak), Lawrence Ati Zigi (St. Gallen, Switzerland)
DEFENDERS: Andy Yiadom (Reading FC, England), Philemon Baffuor (Dreams FC), Baba Abdul Rahman (Reading FC, england), Gideon Mensah (Girondins de Bordeaux, France), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City, England), Alexander Djiku (Strasbourg FC, France), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew, USA), Khalid Abdul Mumin (Vitoria de Guimaraes, Portugal)
MIDFIELDERS: Baba Iddrissu (Real Mallorca, Spain), Edmund Addo (Sherif Tiraspol, Moldova), Thomas Teye Partey (Arsenal, England), Mubarak Wakaso (Shenzhen, China), Mohammed Kudus (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands), Daniel Kofi Kyere (St. Pauli, Germany), David Abagna (Real Tamale United), Salis Abdul Samed (Clermont Foot, France)
FORWARDS: Abdul Fatawu Issahaku (Dreams FC), Samuel Owusu (Al-Fayha, Saudi Arabia), Kamal Deen Suleymana (Rennes, France), Dede Ayew (Al Sadd, Qatar), Joseph Paintsil (Genk, Belgium), Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace, England), Richmond Boakye Yiadom (Beitar Jerusalem, Israel), Maxwell Abbey Quaye (Great Olympics), Felix Afena Gyan (AS Roma, Italy), Benjamin Tetteh (Malatyaspor, Turkey)
Head coach – Milovan Rajevac
Morocco – Will the Atlas Lions Roar?
The Atlas Lions are the holders of the CHAN championship a tournament for locally based players and will be tasked to emulate the same as they open up their quest for gold in Cameroon.
They will miss Chelsea midfielder Hakim Ziyech who was dropped by head coach Vahid Halilhodzic for indiscipline actions in his previous call ups and turn up for national team duty.
Here is the squad for AFCON
Goalkeepers: Yassine Bounou (Sevilla, Spain), Monir El Kajoui, (Hatayspor, Turkey), Anas Zniti (Raja Casablanca, Morocco).
Defenders: Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain, France), Sofiane Alakouch (Metz, France), Souffian El Karouani (NEC Nijmegen, Netherlands), Adam Masina (Watford, England), Sofian Chakla (OH Leuven, Belgium), Samy Mmaee (Ferencvaros, Hungary), Romain Saiss (Wolves, England), Nayef Aguerd (Rennes, France), Badr Benoun (Al Ahly, Egypt), Mohamed Chibi (AS Far, Morocco).
Midfielders: Aymen Barkok (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany), Sofyan Amrabat (Fiorentina, Italy), Faycal Fajr (Sivaspor, Turkey), Azzedine Ounahi (Angers, France), Ilias Chair (QPR, England), Imran Louza (Watford, England), Selim Amallah (Standard Liege, Belgium).
Forwards: Munir El Haddadi (Sevilla, Spain), Zakaria Aboukhlal (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands), Abde Ezzalzouli (Barcelona, Spain), Sofiane Boufal (Angers, France), Ryan Mmaee (Ferencvaros, Hungary), Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla, Spain), Ayoub El Kaabi (Hatayspor, Turkey), Soufiane Rahimi (Al Ain, UAE) .
Head coach – Vahid Halilhodzic
Gabon – The Panthers/Brazilians
Gabon are nicknamed the Brazilians but they have failed to walk in the paths of what they want to be and their best performance in AFCON was in 2017 when they hosted the tournament but were eliminated unbeaten as they couldn’t make it out of the group. They failed to qualify for the 2019 edition.
The panthers under coach Patrice Neveu will be aiming for at least a slot in the last 16 basing on their group performances.
Here is Gabon squad for AFCON
Goalkeepers: Anthony Mfa Mezui (Rodange 91), Donald Nze (Maniema Union), Jean-Noel Amonome (Uthongathi), Fortson Noubi Junior (Vannes)
Defenders: Lloyd Palun (Bastia), Johann Obiang (Rodez), Bruno Ecuele Manga (Dijon), Gilchrist Nguema (Maccabi Ahi Nazareth), Anthony Oyono (Boulogne), Sidney Obissa (Olympic Chaleroi), David Sambissa (Cambuur), Wilfried Ebane (Vannes), Junior Assoumou (Le Mans), Yannis N’Gakoutou (Lyon-La Duchere), Yrondu Musavu-King (Bengaluru)
Midfielders: Andre Biyogo Poko (Altay), Mario Lemina (Nice), Louis Ameka Autchanga (Chamois Niortais), Guelor Kanga (Red Star Belgrade), Serge-Junior Martinsson Ngouali (Gorica), Alex Moucketou-Moussounda (Aris Limassol)
Forwards: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal), Denis Bouanga (Saint-Etienne), Kevin Mayi (Umraniyespor), Axel Méye (Ittihad Tanger), Fahd Ndzengue (Tabor Sezana), Aaron Boupendza (Al Arabi), Ulrick Eneme Ella (Brighton and Hove Albion), Jim Allevinah (Clermont), Biteghe Medwin (Al Adalah)
Head coach – Patrice Neveu
Comoros – The debutants
Comoros have already achieved beyond their heights, a debut in the major Africa tournament is just enough for them to celebrate and history will be made as they play their first match in AFCON.
Comoros AFCON squad
Goalkeepers: Salim Ben Boina (Endoume, France), Ali Ahamada (SK Brann Bergen, Norway), Moyadh Ousseni (Frejus, France)
Defenders: Nadim Abdou (FC Marigues, France), Benjaloud Youssouf (La Berrichonne De Chatauroux, France), Abdallah Ali Mohamed (US Avranches, France), Kassim Mdahoma (US Avranches, France), Younn Zahary (Cholet, France), Chaker Alhadhur (AC Ajaccio, France), Mohamed Youssouf (AC Ajaccio, France), Kassim Abdallah (Marignane Cignac, France)
Midfielders: Fouhad Bachirou (Omonia Nicosie, Cyprus), Youssouf M’Changama (EA Guingamp, France), Yacine Bourhane (Go Ahead Eagles, Netherlands), Nakibou Aboubakari (FC Sete 34, France), Iyad Mohamed (AJ Auxerre, France), Rafidine Abdullah (FCS Luasanne, Switzerland)
Forwards: Faiz Selemani (Kortijk, Belgium), Mohamed El Fardou (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia), Nasser Chamed (Gaz Metan Medias, Romania), Ahmed Mogni (FC Annecy, France), Faiz Mattoir (Cholet, France), Ali M’Madi (SAS Epinal, France), Said Bakari (RKC Waalwijk,Netherlands), Moussa Djoumoi (AS Sait-Priest, France), Mohamed M’Changama (FC Nouadhibou, Mauritania)
Head coach – Amir Abdou