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Sports News of Thursday, 21 November 2019


AFCON Qualifiers: Top five performers

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Baghdad Bounedjah

The Algeria superstar was influential for the Fennecs in Egypt as they conquered the continent, and has maintained his fine form with an excellent showing in the North Africans’ 5-0 demolition of Zambia.

Bounedjah scored twice, including a 68th-minute penalty, as he continued to demonstrate the qualities that have made him such a scoring sensation in Qatar.

The attacker’ fine form for the national side—he now has 16 goals—has prompted Algeria fans to respond with ridicule to suggestions that Karim Benzema might make an unlikely—and implausible—switch to represent the land of his origins!

Victor Osimhen

Osimhen is the latest sensation in Nigerian football, having started the season so excellently with LOSC Lille after signing for the French club as a replacement for Arsenal-bound Nicolas Pepe.

While Osimhen’s form has deteriorated a little in Ligue 1—he hasn't scored in his last four matches—he turned on the style to bail Nigeria out during the international break, with the Super Eagles falling behind in both of their matches against Benin and Lesotho.

Goal Africa correspondent James O’Conners suggested that Osimhen offers the qualities of both the retired Odion Ighalo and Paul Onuachu, and he could be the ideal man to lead the line for the Super Eagles for a decade to come.

Wahbi Khazri

A hero in Tunisia, but Khazri remains one of Africa’s more underrated players, even though he consistently makes decisive impacts for club and country.

During the international break, he scored three goals across Tunisia’s two matches, netting two in the 4-1 victory against Libya before striking a late winner against Equatorial Guinea.

The latter contribution shared his side’s blushes, but Khazri served a reminder as to why he is such an influential figure, adding a dash of stardust to this otherwise workmanlike team.

He may be struggling domestically, but at international level, Khazri has now moved up to 19 goals from 53 matches—joint fourth in Tunisia’s all-time scoring charts.

Cedric Bakambu

This was a thoroughly disappointing international break for the Democratic Republic of Congo, who were held both at home by Gabon and away at The Gambia.
However, it would have been a lot worse had it not been for Bakambu, who led the line with aplomb, caused regular problems for the Gambian backline, and opened the scoring in the 48th minute with a fine flicked effort.

His international record now is 15 goals in 29 outings, and while the DRC are threatening to drop back into African football mediocrity, Bakagoal is ensuring they keep their heads above water…for now!

Famara Diedhiou

While Egypt toiled without Mohamed Salah, Senegal had no such trouble in Sadio Mane’s absence, as Diedhiou stepped into the Liverpool star’s shoes.

He struck a hat-trick in the 4-1 victory away at Eswatini, and while they may not be the most menacing opponents in the continent, the striker’s three goals in nine second-half minutes were exhilarating.

The 26-year-old may not establish himself as a regular starter for the Teranga Lions, but he’s an excellent option for Aliou Cisse to have from the bench.

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