AFCON 2023 Players to watch from Belgium: Strikers

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. We have already looked at the goalkeepersdefenders and midfielders heading to the tournament, today we will look at the strikers.

Mohamed Amoura – Algeria and Union St Gilloise

Amoura has been in incredible form for Belgian Pro League league leaders Union St Gilloise this season. The 23-year-old, who joined from Swiss side Lugano in the summer, has already scored 15 goals in 22 games in all competitions, with 13 of those coming in his 15 league appearances this season. He is suspended for Algeria’s opening game against Angola, but should have a part to play in the tournament as the side look for their third AFCON title.

Alieu Fadera – Gambia and Genk

Last season Fadera was the shining light of a poor Zulte Waregem side that were ultimately relegated. His form earned him a move to title challenging Genk in the summer. After a slow start, he has begun to find his form with the side. He has scored in back to back games before the winter break, with three league goals so far this season. He brings some attacking versatility to Belgian head coach Tom Saintfiet’s side, as Fadera is able to operate on either wing or as a striker. After a successful AFCON debut last time out, Gambia are expected to be a dark horse to go far.

Zinho Gano – Guinea-Bissau and Zulte Waregem

One of Fadera’s teammates from last season, Zinho Gano remained with Zulte Waregem despite scoring 12 goals in 20 matches for the side during the 2022/2023 season. He has already scored eight so far this season in the Belgian second tier, giving him an impressive 36 goals in 70 games for the club. The former Belgian youth international was called up in 2022 to join the Guinea-Bissau set-up. This will be a first AFCON for Gano since the call up, and his record for the side is pretty good, with four goals in five games. He was the top scorer during qualification for the side.

Souleymane Anne – Mauritania and Deinze

26-year-old Anne joined Deinze on a free from Virton in the summer. Last season the striker scored nine goals in 25 games for the side, following on from a season where he had grabbed another nine in 20. So far this campaign he’s got three in 13, alongside one assist. Anne is usually a back-up player for Mauritania, but does have some limited AFCON experience. During the 2019 tournament he played three minutes against Tunisia in a 0-0 draw. In five appearances for the nation he is yet to score.

Aboubakary Koita – Mauritania and Sint-Truiden

Alongside Anne, Belgium has another representative in the Mauritania squad in Aboubakary Koita. The Sint-Truiden forward has been the sides best player this season as he enjoys his best ever season as a player. In 20 games for the Canaries this season he has grabbed 11 goals, even more impressive when you consider the 25-year-old failed to find the net in 29 games last season. He is a recent addition to the Mauritania squad, but expect to see some long range efforts from him should he receive the ball in the final third.

Tarik Tissoudali – Morocco and Gent

Injury denied Tissoudali the chance to feature during Morocco’s historic run to the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar 2022. He’s now fit and back to some of his best form just in time for the sides bid to win a long overdue second AFCON title. The 30-year-old has nine goals and two assists in 19 Pro League matches this season, with three goals and two assists in six Europa Conference League clashes as well. The former Beerschot man will be hoping to get opportunities off the bench to show what he can do for the Atlas Lions, and his great dribbling ability could help break down defensive teams when Morocco are in need of a goal.

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

More European Football News