CAN 2019: the most promising young players in the competition

This CAN 2019, which opens this Friday, June 21, is also an opportunity for young players to shine at the international level. RFI is an overview of these young promising players who could well splash the competition of all their ...


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Nigerian defensive midfielder Wilfred Ndidi was voted two years in a row as the best Premier League scorer. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP

This CAN 2019, which opens this Friday, June 21, is also an opportunity for young players to shine at the international level. RFI is an overview of these promising young players who could well splash the competition with all their talent.

  • Wilfred Ndidi (22 years old, Nigeria)

At just 22, the Nigerian defensive midfielder has just completed his third season with Leicester, where he has become a key player. Arriving in 2016 from Genk in Belgium to take off from N'Golo Kanté , Wilfred Ndidi has become a key element of the Foxes. Called for the first time with the Super Eagles in 2015, the midfielder now has 25 caps and is a member of Gernot Rohr's squad. Big, powerful, good in the head and excellent recoverer, Wilfred Ndidi was elected two years in a row as the best Premier League scorer. No doubt he should continue to talk about him during this CAN.

READ ► CAN 2019: Calendar, results and standings of the Africa Cup

  • Youcef Atal (23 years old, Algeria)

Arriving this year in Nice, the 23-year-old right-back was one of the revelations of the French championship . Good defensively, excellent offensively and clever in front of the goal the young Algerian is the prototype of the modern side. Author of six goals with Nice this season, Youcef Atal was for the first time called at the Fennecs in 2017, he has since honored 10 selections. His performances are already attracting the interest of the biggest European clubs and the upcoming CAN could raise the stakes.

Youcef Atal at a meeting between OGC Nice and En Avant Guingamp, April 28, 2019. YANN COATSALIOU / AFP

  • Maxwell Cornet (22 years old, Ivory Coast)

The Olympique Lyon striker had a difficult season. Often inconstant, he did not have the confidence of his coach and therefore played very little in the league. He has however illustrated in the Champions League where he scored three goals in two meetings with his team against Manchester City . Maxwell Cornet also finished his season in cannonball by scoring six goals and delivering three assists in OL's last three league games. Capable of splinters, it could be a great help to Elephants to turn the tide in difficult situations.

  • Amadou Diawara (21 years old, Guinea)

At the age of 21, Amadou Diawara has just finished his third season with Napoli, where he has distinguished himself as a defensive midfielder for his qualities of raking, releasing and tactical intelligence. The young Guinean has played a little less this season under the orders of Carlo Ancellotti but its potential arouses the desires of clubs like Atletico Madrid or AC Milan. Having arrived very young in Italy, Amadou Diawara could have claimed the Italian selection but he finally chose Guinea last October. Since then, he has honored three selections with the Syli National where he shoulder the midfielder team star, Naby Keita, freshly won the Champions League with Liverpool.

  • Achraf Hakimi (20 years old, Morocco)

Lifted last summer by Real Madrid, his training club, Borussia Dortmund, Achraf Hakimi quickly got used to his new team. He made a full season in the Ruhr, winning the position of right-back. The Golden Ball Lothar Matthäus even declared of him that he was the best right side of the Bundesliga. Selected with the Atlas Lions for the first time in 2017, he competed in the 2018 World Cup. With his offensive style of play, excellent technical quality and vividness, he should be one of the sure-fire Morocco team during this CAN.

Moroccan side Achraf Hakimi at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Yuri CORTEZ / AFP

  • Ismaïla Sarr (21 years old, Senegal)

The supersonic Senegalese striker has just achieved the best season of his career with Stade Rennais. So much so that many offers of transfer arrive on the offices of the leaders of the Breton club which are not ready to release it at less than 50 million euros. This is the second African Cup of Nations to which Ismaïla Sarr will participate, he who had already been called for the 2017. By his young age, the young striker is still quite inconsistent and is sometimes clumsy in front of the goal, but his speed and sense of overflow could hurt opponents of the Teranga Lions, especially if he comes into play late in the game to try to unblock the situation.

ref: rfi

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