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AFCON 2023: Five Players to watch out for

The Africa Cup of Nations gets underway on January 13, in the biennial battle to be crowned African football’s finest team.
After the rescheduling of the tournament from last summer, Africa’s top teams are preparing to compete for continental success in what promises to be a fascinating month of international action.

AFCON 2023: Five Players to watch out for

Ousmane Diomande (Ivory Coast)
Ivory Coast are the host nation for the tournament as Les éléphants look to win a second AFCON title.

The Ivorians boast a squad mixed with experience and potential, with the brightest prospect among their ranks Ousmane Diomande. The centre-back has starred since signing for Sporting Lisbon from FC Midtjylland last January, emerging as one of the most promising defenders in European football.

Diomande ranks second in Portugal’s Primeria Liga this season for touches (1165) and pass completion (91%), while ranking third for passes into the final third (94), percentage of dribblers tackled (83.3%) and progressive carrying distance (2342).

Sporting set a release clause of €80m (£69m) in the 20-year-old’s contract when signing Diomande, a figure top clubs are reportedly already prepared to meet. He will form a strong axis at centre-back alongside Roma’s Evan Ndicka for the host nation.