Goalkeeper André Onana (Cameroon, Ajax)
Formed at the Catalan La Masia with which he won the European Youth League 2014, the former student of of Samuel Eto’o academy has recovered the incumbent position in goal for Ajax last season. He became untouchable at the club that has had a hard time in this complicated position. At 22, he is predicted to have great career.
Right back Youcef Atal (Algeria, Nice)
Landed on the side of the Ligue 1 this summer, Youcef Atal quickly convinced by the volume of his play in the right corridor of OGC Nice. Former offensive midfielder, the right back is a monster of generosity. At 22, the Algerian international is already one of the revelations of the season. After an apprenticeship in Kortrijk in Belgium, he is energized by his qualities of counter-attacking in the team coached by Patrick Vieira. With Algeria, he showed some nice play in qualification of the 2019 AFCON . A great promise.
Center back Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal, Napoli)
If he is absent from the shortlist of the top 10 players of the year published by the African Confederation, the stopper of the Lions of Teranga and Napoli has been omnipresent by his XXL performance. We still remember how he muzzled the Mbappe-Cavani-Neymar trio of PSG in the Champions League. In the World Cup, he also showed that he has international stature. The double K is simply part of the European elites at his post. A must.
Center back Manu Da Costa (Morocco, Istanbul BB)
At 32, he will have achieved one of the most successful seasons of his globe-trotting career. Arriving in the summer of 2017 in Istanbul, he has grown to become a strong element of the current leader of the Turkish Championship. Excellent player with impressive ease, Manu Da Costa is a player who disappoints little. This is the syndrome of the German sedan, the guy of 1,93m is reliable … With Morocco, he is solid at the back, he reassures. At the 2018 World Cup, he played all three games for his national team. Da Costa should changed an eleventh club, and a ninth country in his career. He is expected in Saudi Arabia this winter.
Barred at Real Madrid, Ashraf Hakimi is today one of the most impressive players in the Bundesliga. It took the young Moroccan to be loaned this summer to Borussia Dortmund where he delighted his coach, Lucien Favre. Formed on the right, he plays false-foot as a left-back with the BVB but also as at the World Cup with Morocco where at just 19 years old, he showed a surprising maturity. The one that was launched by Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid is a very serious candidate for the title of best African under 21 years player.
Central Midfielder Thomas Partey (Ghana, Atletico Madrid)
When he builds his starting lineup, coach Diego Simeone does not fail to write on the scoresheet the name of his Ghanaian Swiss Army Knife. “Thomas”, as he is known in Liga, knows how to be as effective in a defensive register as in the heart of the middle, even in lateral. Winner of the Europa League, he has also taken his place in the Black Stars. Penultimate passer and sometimes scorer, Partey has made a significant step this year.
Defensive Midfielder Wilfried Ndidi (Nigeria, Leicester)
He is certainly not the most spectacular player of his national team selection or even at Leicester. But in his record, the former defensive midfielder of Genk has also settled in the midfield and his statistics in the Premier League are exceptional, both in terms of tackles and balls recovered. As such, the young Nigerian was named by CAF among the best hopes of the year. At 21, his club has extended his contract until 2024 but they are is not sure they have totally secured their super midfielder.
Another forgotten man on the CAF short-list. However, the attacking midfielder of the Atlas Lions and Ajax entertains in each of his outings. Not only does his shots often fly, but in addition Hakim is one of the most spectacular ball players, a provocator and dribbler unparalleled that we say it will be difficult to keep him long at Ajax. Morocco, he is delighted to have to animate his offensive sector and distill balls to attackers.
Right forward Riyad Mahrez (Algeria, Manchester City)
A regular on the honor roll. Riyadh Mahrez has once again done the job at high altitude in the Premier League. For his last season with the Foxes, he finished in with (12 goals and 10 assists). After an exceptional cycle in Leicester, he packed his bags this summer for Manchester City signing for € 68 million transfer. Competition is on another level, and the Algerian must prove himself to be indispensable as in the Champions League where he is co-best passer of the group phase. With his national team, he suffered instability before regaining momentum under Djamel Belmadi. His recent double against Togo allowed Algeria to qualify for the next AFCON.
Left forward Sadio Mané (Senegal, Liverpool)
Hellish, untenable, unstoppable … Sadio Mané was clearly exceptional in 2018. Alongside Salah and Firmino, he took Liverpool in the final of the Champions League where he was the most successful of his team against Real. During this competition, the Senegalese scored 10 goals thus becoming among the best Africans in history over a season. 22nd in the rankings of the FF Ballon d’Or, the Lion of Teranga is in contention to win the title of best African player of the year for 2018. Sadio Mané is still looking for a first title after finishing third in 2016 and in second place in 2017. The Answer will be given on January 8 in Dakar.
Striker Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool)
Premier League player and top scorer last season, the Egyptian finished at an honorable 6th place in the ranking of the 2018 Ballon d’Or. Had it not been for his injury caused by Sergio Ramos in the final of the European LDC, his year would certainly have been improved. Present in Russia for the World Cup but very diminished, he could not prevent the sinking of his Pharaohs. We will find him fit for the next AFCON. In the meantime, the man some of whom thought he had slumbered scores goal after goal with Liverpool. No, Mo Salah did not return to the ranks. And he even seems a credible successor to his own title of African Player of the Year won in January 2017.