2017 Africa Cup of Nations top youngsters to look out for
FootyOn present our five 2017 Africa Cup of Nations top youngsters to look out for.
Youth scouts from elite clubs around the globe will be camped out in Gabon for the 31st AFCON.
The continental competition boasts a beguiling mix of established superstars, cult heroes and youth talent.
So, which countries have the most promising prospects?
Here is our verdict on five fledglings to keep an eye on…
Ramadan Sobhi (Egypt, 19)
This elegant right-footed left winger has already dipped his toes into Premier League waters with seven appearances for Stoke City.
Potter Sobhi’s fast feet carved open a Swansea City defence to force an own goal in the teenager’s best showing so far.
But there should be even more to come for his country, for whom he is becoming a key player.
Capped 11 times for Egypt, Sobhi is the Pharaohs’ second-youngest ever international after former Spurs flop Mido.
It’s no surprise silky Sobhi is also said to be on Manchester United’s radar.
And the young-gun and will hopefully see more minutes in Egypt’s red, white and black.
Franck Kessie (Ivory Coast, 20)
Of course, Kessie had to be included. The Ivory Coast starlet has reportedly attracted attention from a gaggle of Premier League clubs, including Chelsea.
It is not difficult to see why. Serie A minnows Atalanta supposedly felt confident enough to turn down a bid of over £20m from the Blues.
Tenacious midfielder Kessie’s stock is only set to rise at the AFCON as he arrives with the defending champions.
This energetic Elephants international knows how to put himself about the pitch.
Yet, young Kessie is no slouch technically or tactically either, and could be the next big star to come out of Ivory Coast.
Bernard Tekpetey (Ghana, 19)
Bundesliga boys Schalke have developed a bit of a reputation for, well, developing youth.
Teenage Tekpetey is the latest in a line of talents to have been honed in Gelsenkirchen.
And Ghana fans will be hoping they can thank the Germans for moulding the next Asamoah Gyan.
Although included on the Black Stars’ AFCON roster, Tekpetey faces stiff competition to get into the starting XI.
Established Ghana players up top such as Gyan, and the Ayew brothers Andre and Jordan, will be tough to dislodge.
That’s why we’ve selected them as our each-way punt for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Still, try to catch a glimpse of this adaptable Schalke striker-come-winger in the group stage.
If his senior Schalke bow, in which he both won a penalty and saw red, was anything to go by, Tekpetey is exciting.
The Black Stars are a tasty 9/1 to go all the way though, with betway.
Youssef En-Nesyri (Morocco, 19)
Malaga’s rising star marksman En-Nesyri has propelled himself into Morocco ranks after impressing for both the Anchovies’ B and senior sides.
The Fez-born forward was prolific for Malaga B with six strikes in as many matches.
And he has since bagged for the La Liga side proper.
With four caps for the Atlas Lions, and three in seven for Morocco Under-20s, En-Nesyri is a net threat for the future.
Also able to play on the wing, Southampton wideman Sofiane Boufal’s injury could open international doors.
Yves Bissouma (Mali, 20)
A super sub in the 2016 African Nations Championship for Mali, Bissouma is also in their AFCON final squad.
The young midfielder hit a late winner to sink Ivory Coast in the semi-final.
That bodes will for powerful Bissouma to feature for the Eagles, after already forcing his way to 10 appearances for Nice this term.
Mali also possess several other young promising players.
These include Monaco midfielder Adama Traore and Rostov’s adaptable Moussa Doumbia.
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