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African All Stars

Kessie, Kamaldeen, Sarr: Africans who could set football alight in 2022-23

4:00 PM SGT 2/8/22
Franck Kessie - Barcelona 2022-23
Which of the continent’s stars should observers keep a check on during the season?

Supporters would be pleased with the return of the major domestic leagues after a two-month hiatus that seemed like forever.

With that in mind, a plethora of Africa's finest stars return to action in the coming weeks which ought to excite observers.

From Mohamed Salah to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, from Sadio Mane to Achraf Hakimi, fans await the reappearance of the continent's best exports with bated breath.

  • Hannibal-Mejbri

    Africans in Europe to monitor in 2022-23

    The new season already kicked off in some minor leagues in Europe with the major divisions slated to begin over the next fortnight.

    In this feature, GOAL takes a look at some of the continent’s stars to be monitored over the next 10 months.

  • Dango Ouattara

    Dango Ouattara

    After a decent-to-good first year in Ligue 1, Ouattara will aim for more appearances in the new season with Lorient.

    The 20-year-old made 25 appearances in his first campaign in one of Europe’s top five leagues and will seek more starts in 2022-23, having played from the off only seven times last term.

    In addition, the Burkina Faso international will look to add more goal contributions this term, outdoing last year’s return of a solitary goal and two assists.

  • Ghana, Kamaldeen Sulemana, Morocco, Achraf Hakimi, Afcon 2021

    Kamaldeen Sulemana

    Like Dango, last season was Sulemana’s first in Europe’s top divisions.

    While the Ghana youngster produced more goal involvements (four goals, two assists) than the aforementioned Burkinabe, closer inspection shows his last Ligue 1 contribution for Stade Rennes came in early November — an assist in Rennes’ 4-1 win over Olympique Lyon.

    Despite his youth, the 20-year-old Ghanaian will demand an improvement on last term’s return, especially in a World Cup year, while seeking even more appearances than last year’s 20 (11 starts).

  • Hannibal Mejbri Manchester United 2022-23

    Hannibal Mejbri

    With opportunities likely to be limited at Manchester United this season under Erik ten Hag, a loan move will do the talented teenager a world of good.

    Surprisingly included in the final Caf Young Player of the Year shortlist, the 18-year-old needs consistent game time to prove he merits a place in Tunisia’s World Cup squad.

    On an individual front, an upshot of Hannibal’s youth means he has been deployed in several positions, which leaves little room for growth for the green teenager, a situation that cannot continue in 2022-23 wherever he ends up playing.

  • Pape Matar Sarr Tottenham GFX

    Pape Matar Sarr

    While Matar Sarr claiming the African Young Player of the Year award was questioned, the underlying numbers showed the Senegal midfielder had a strong 21-22 despite Metz’s relegation.

    Sarr ranked among the top players on his former side for shot-creating actions from open play, forward-thinking passing, tenacity off the ball and tackles plus interceptions per 90.

    Indeed, it will be interesting to see how the 19-year-old gets on in his debut Premier League campaign at Tottenham Hotspur, particularly as he is not expected to be a regular starter in Antonio Conte’s midfield.

    Having said that, reasonable match action in pre-season suggests the teenager will be kept in the first-team squad as Spurs compete on multiple fronts this term.

    With Senegal participating in this year’s World Cup, will Sarr get ample game time to make the Teranga Lions’ squad?

  • Franck Kessie - Barcelona 2022-23

    Franck Kessie

    A departure from this piece’s interest in youngsters, Kessie’s Barcelona move undoubtedly catches the eye with the new Liga campaign imminent.

    Having made a name for himself in Serie A with Atalanta and AC Milan, the Ivory Coast superstar will participate in his first campaign outside Italian football.

    It remains to be seen how the ex-Milan start gets on, but the early signs show he is adapting nicely to Xavi Hernandez’s style.

    Be that as it may, it is still early doors for the 25-year-old whose progress in Spain should be observed throughout 22-23.