The 30th Africa Cup of Nation is ready and raring to get underway, held from 17 January to 8 February 2015. The tournament was initially scheduled to be hosted by Morocco who later postponed because of the bola virus epidemic in West Africa. The host country was then replaced by Equatorial Guinea.
With such an up-in-the-air build up teams will be keen to get back to the nuts and bolts of just playing football. And also with a number of household stars on show, the tournament promises to be a cracker.
Everyone knows about Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony, but they are not the one who should be watched out for. There are number of lesser heralded names of African players that Premier League clubs could take a closer look at.
Yacine Brahimi from Algeria is the tournament favorite’s great hope. The 24-year-old attacking midfielder emerged at the World Cup as the top scorer in qualification games. And he will be expected to get in amongst the goals again in Africa Cup of Nation. Premier League teams in need of a goal scorer could take a closer look at Brahimi. However, his club Porto are notorious tough negotiators and would demand a pretty penny to sign him.
Another summer signing at the Dragao is Vincent Aboubakar who could make a serious name for himself at this year’s tournament. The Cameroonian was signed for €3 million and has only played 72 minutes so far. Despite his lack of playing time, he has scored twice in the Champions League. He is known as a powerful and strong African player who could the eye in Equatorial Guinea.
Eric Bertrand Bailly frequently associated as the natural heir to Kolo Toure for his amazing skill and performances. The 20-year-old has made his full first team debut for the Barcelona based side this season and has impressed in his still very much a work in progress. Experts see the Ivorian man as a big prospect for the future, even though signing him now would be something of a risk concerning the fact that he has only five league appearances.
The next uprising name is Algeria’s undoubted star, Sofiane Feghouli who has been impressive for Valencia in La Liga. The versatile midfielder or attacker has all the tools to be a standout player. There would be no small queue of suitors, either. Whether anyone wades in this month is unlikely, but the big boys will be watching his performances this month.
Fabrice Ondoa, another rolling off the Barcelona goalkeeper is extremely high-rated. Since the tender age of 13 at Nou Camp, Ondoa has climbed through the ranks all the way to the Blaugrana reserve team. Barcelona unlikely to let go of their best and brightest player, but could perhaps be persuaded into a loan.