Six tips for Afcon success

South Africa hosts this year's editionThe 2013 edition of the African Cup of Nations gets underway this weekend in South Africa, a shop window for the cream of the continent’s talent as well as a premier international competition.

We all know about Africa’s leading lights, with the likes of Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kwadwo Asamoah expected to be key players as the tournament returns within 12 months thanks to the decision to move it to 'odd' years so as to avoid overlapping World Cups.

There are also some high-profile absentees through injury and, in the case of Cameroon and Egypt, failure to qualify. So there will be no Samuel Eto'o, while the Egyptians switch their focus to World Cup qualification after political strife halted domestic football.

But one man's misfortune is another's opportunity - who will be the next superstar to emerge from the continent?

Euroscout gives its tips for the top over the next three weeks...


Sofiane Feghouli (Algeria, Valencia)

Age: 23. Position: Attacking midfielder.

Named Algeria's Footballer of the Year for 2012 for his performances at club level in Spain and for his country, for whom he debuted in late 2011 after first playing for France at U21 level.

An attacking midfielder with great vision whose career started at Grenoble, he can be inconsistent but has an eye for a killer pass and does score the odd goal.


Alain Traore-Lorient-AfconAlain Traore (Burkina Faso, Lorient)

Age: 24. Position: Forward.

Scorer of the goal that secured qualification for Burkina Faso in February, he missed the preparations in a race against time to overcome an adductor injury, for which he has been receiving specialist treatment in France.

He moved to Lorient in Ligue 1 last year after eight seasons with Auxerre and has scored almost a goal every other game in Ligue 1.


Ryan Mendes (Cape Verde, Lille)

Age: 23 Position: Forward.

Pacey player who likes to run at defenders and has made a successful transition to Ligue 1 with former champions Lille from Le Havre this season.

He was regarded as one of the best players in Ligue 2 over the last three seasons after Le Havre spotted him as an 18-year-old participating in a youth tournament.


Christian Atsu (Ghana, FC Porto)

Age: 21. Position: Winger.

The new hope of Ghana football who has emerged into the side since the last Nations Cup and who is expected to be among the young stars of the tournament.

He was first brought into the Porto squad aged 17 by Andre Villas-Boas but this is his first season with regular game time. Prefers to play on the left and impressed on loan at Rio Ave last season.


Thulani Serero (South Africa, Ajax)

Age: 22. Position: Attacking midfielder.

Playmaker who moved to Ajax after being crowned South Africa's best footballer in 2011.

Working his way back after a groin injury suffered in September but coach Igesund says a Serero at 60 per cent is still a potential match winner for his team since Steven Pienaar’s retirement from international football.


Aymen Abdennour (Tunisia, Toulouse)

Age: 23. Position: Defender.

Former captain of the U21 side, who was a firm favourite at Etoile Sahel before going on loan to Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga.

Toulouse signed him in 2011 and such was their delight at his adaptation to Ligue 1 that they extended his contract to a four-year deal six months after his arrival.

He started as a left winger, later played at left-back but is now used at a centre-back.


PLAYER STATS (2012-13 so far)








The African Cup of Nations kicks off on Saturday January 19 as hosts South Africa face Cape Verde in Johannesburg - you can follow every game LIVE on Eurosport and