Top five African players to watch at the World Cup

Samuel Eto'o Cameroon

African nations will be looking to make an impression in Brazil next month.

With the World Cup less than a month away, we analyse the teams from Africa, their key players and how they will fare.

1) Algeria: Madjid Bougherra

Back for a successive World Cup finals, the man expected to lead the line is team captain Bougherra – he scored the decisive goal that sealed qualification. Now 32, his experience is vital in such a young squad. Algeria has developed a free-flowing football with creativity on the wings, but they are susceptible to set-pieces and poor at defending a lead.

Other players to watch: Sofiane Ferghouli and Islam Slimani.

Verdict: Group Stage

2) Cameroon: Samuel Eto’o

The Indomitable Lions are the African record holders with seven appearances in the World Cup, but bar Italia ’90, they have been knocked out at the group stages. Although 33, Eto’o is still one of the most clinical strikers on the planet.

Other players to watch: Vincent Aboubakar of Lorient (second highest scorer in Ligue 1), Jean Makoun, Sebastien Bassong and Alex Song.

Verdict: Group Stage

3) Cote D’Ivoire: Yaya Toure

The Elephants went through the qualifiers unbeaten and are the highest ranking African team. And just like Ghana, they have been at the last two World Cups. But, unfortunately they have never made it out of the group stages. Toure is the man in form going into the competition with 20 goals and a Premier League winner’s medal.

Other players to watch: Gervinho, Serge Aurier and Didier Drogba.

Verdict: Round of 16

4) Ghana: Kwadwo Asamoah

Ghana will be participating in their third consecutive World Cup after becoming only the third African team to reach the quarter-finals in 2010. The team boasts a lot of talented and experienced midfielders, but Asamoah stands out for his versatility. He can play in a couple of positions and can link play excellently.

Other players to watch: Asamoah Gyan, Christian Atsu and Andre Ayew.

Verdict: Quarter-final.

5) Nigeria: Vincent Enyeama

Nigeria are the current African champions, but that will count for little as illustrated in the Confederations Cup. Luckily, the Super Eagles have the goalkeeper with the best cleansheet record in Europe’s top five leagues to count on.

Other players to watch: Ogenyi Onazi, Peter Odemwingie and Emmanuel Emenike.

Verdict: Round of 16.

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