Who are Goal tipping to make a significant impact at the showpiece to be held in Cameroon at the turn of the year?
Having replaced Odion Ighalo since last year’s Africa Cup of Nations, the onus will be on Osimhen to carry on where the on-loan Manchester United striker left off in the tournament next year.
Ighalo scored five times in Egypt to end top scorer at the finals and filling his boots won’t be easy.
However, an impressive year in Ligue 1 and a great start as Gernot Rohr’s number nine suggests the Nigerian youngster could dominate the continent’s top competition.
Osimhen netted 18 times for Les Dogues before football in France was stopped and netted four times for the Super Eagles across different friendlies and Afcon qualifiers in the second half of 2019.
It remains to be seen if the 21-year-old will carry that form into Afcon but the precedent indicates he could fill his predecessor’s boots.
Ghana didn’t thrive at Afcon 2019, it has to be said, exiting on penalties at the Round of 16 to Tunisia.
Partey’s stock has risen significantly since then, becoming arguably Atletico Madrid’s most important midfielder in 19/20.
He was one of the Black Stars’ best performers in last year’s showpiece and is expected to play even better given the glaring improvement in the last year or thereabouts.
Despite South Africa’s underwhelming Afcon performances, Tau’s creativity was essential to their surprising run to the quarter-finals, with a 1-0 win over tournament hosts Egypt particularly noteworthy.
The attacker was Banana Bafana’s top creator at the tournament and he carried that form into Club Brugge’s 19/20 campaign, which included an impressive 2-2 draw with Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Blue-Blacks also won the Belgian First Division after the campaign was frozen due to the coronavirus pandemic.
That was Tau’s first league championship in European football, and he’s likely to carry even more responsibility for the Southern African nation in the biennial competition in Cameroon next year.
Probably Africa’s best-performing full-back at the moment, the effervescent Borussia Dortmund man didn’t play as well as his talent suggests in Morocco’s disappointing campaign last year.
Be that as it may, that was a different Hakimi, as he’s grown exponentially since the Atlas Lions’ Last 16 exit in Egypt, becoming one of the best wide defenders in European football this season.
The North African side will hope to ride the wave of the young defender’s form going into the showpiece in Central Africa.
The playmaker was made the poster boy of Morocco’s failed Afcon showing in Egypt and ought to be raring to prove critics wrong if next year’s finals in Cameroon go ahead as planned.
Ziyech, a three-time Ajax Player of the Year, ought to be plying his trade in England with Chelsea at the time the competition starts and his displays in the Premier League will give fans an assessment going into the finals.
Nonetheless, after the Atlas Lions failed to show their quality as favourites last year, Ziyech will carry the can as they look to bounce back from a disappointing early exit.
Admittedly, Pepe hasn’t set the world alight since moving to Arsenal last summer, still, he remains a promising prospect and could blossom at next year’s finals.
He began the 2019 finals admirably against South Africa, notably hitting the woodwork with a free-kick, but faded as the competition progressed.
Indeed, the Elephants winger possesses the individual quality to take the month-long tournament by storm provided he finds the much-needed consistency.