AFCON 2023 Players to watch from Belgium: Goalkeepers

This week, another edition of AFCON will begin in the Cote d’Ivoire. The tournament is returning to the country for the first time since 1984, when Cameroon won their first title over Nigeria. Since then the tournament has expanded, with 24 teams set to battle it out to become the champions of the continent. Over the next week we will look at the Belgian based players set to compete, starting with the handful of goalkeepers.

Herve Koffi – Burkina Faso and Charleroi

Arguably the most likely of the goalkeepers on this list to make an impact, Herve Koffi is the number one for the Stallions. Burkina Faso have never won the tournament, coming close in 2013 when they lost in the final to Nigeria. Last time out they came fourth, having made the semi-finals. Koffi had a strong tournament and made an impression with his acrobatic celebrations during a penalty shoot out win over Gabon in the Round of 16. There are some concerns over his fitness after he had to come off during Charleroi’s win over KV Mechelen before the winter break. This came after he pulled off a world class save to keep his side ahead. If he is fit, expect to see some great reflex saves from a top quality shot-stopper. Burkina Faso will face Algeria, Angola and Mauritania in Group D.

Ouparine Djoco – Guina-Bissau and Francs Borains

Ouparine Djoco of Francs Borains has also been called up for AFCON. The 25-year-old has only made one appearance in the Challenger Pro League, Belgium’s second tier, this season, but did feature twice in the cup. He is currently on loan at Francs Borains from French side Clermont Foot. So far he has only made on appearance for the Guinea-Bissau national team. The experienced Jonas Mendes is likely to start in goal, but injuries to goalkeepers is nothing new during AFCON, so Djoco may well get a chance during the tournament. Guinea-Bissau have a tough group, with Nigeria, hosts Cote d’Iviore and Equatorial Guinea joining them in Group A. Guinea-Bissau get the tournament started against the hosts on Saturday evening.

Interested in learning more about the history of AFCON? GBeNeFN editor in chief Ben Jackson recently published his debut book on the history of the tournament, which can be found here or from all major bookshops.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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