Some players arrived at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with high profile because of what they had done for their clubs in the 2018-19 season.
6 players who flopped at AFCON 2019
Great usually come under the spotlight during tournaments and the fans are always anxious to watch them in action.
It was a mixed reaction in terms of performances by the individuals who were tipped to star in the continent’s showpiece.
The likes of Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez, Kalidou Koulibally, Kesse, etc were a delight to watch, while some failed to live up to the billing, despite the hype.
Below are players who failed to live up the expectation in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations
The Ajax Amsterdam midfielder struggled to replicate his explosive form for his club in both the Eredivisie and the UEFA Champions League when he joined Morocco for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
He appeared different from the player who grabbed the headlines in the course of the season and caused many problems for clubs like Real Madrid, Juventus, Tottenham, etc.
Many connoisseurs blame him for Morocco’s exit from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He threw away a spot-kick in open play as the Atlas Lions suffered a disappointing elimination from the competition against one of the dark horses of the tournament Benin who were playing in their first knockout in AFCON’s history.
It is believed that his poor AFON display was the reason why he failed to grab any big-money move in the summer.
The Arsenal forward arrived at the AFCON with high profile after bagging 23 goals in 41 games in the 2018-19 season for Lille in all competitions.
Nicolas was, however, a pale shadow of himself throughout the 2019 continent’s showpiece in the shirt of Ivory Coast. Pepe failed to register any goal in the AFCON.
Per his standard, the man touted as the Egyptian king did not have an excellent campaign in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Mohamed Salah was expected to inspire the Egyptians to an AFCON triumph on home soil. The Liverpool forward who had won the UEFA Champions League could only manage just two goals in the group stage and he looked clueless as South Africa handed them a surprising 1-0 defeat to push a bitter bill down their throat in the round of 16.
The man who was once the toast of every Ghanaian football-loving fans for his dribbles and decisiveness at the opponent’s half put a below-average performance at AFCON 2019.
Christian Atsu came into the scene in 2013 when he was first introduced by Kwasi Appiah. Every Ghanaian was excited because a person whose play resembled the football magician Lionel Messi had emerged in the West African country. He lived up to the hype as he established himself the Most Valuable Player as Ghana reached the final of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
Per the niche, he had calved for himself a lot was expected of him at AFCON 2019, but the Newcastle winger played as if he had lost ideas on how to be productive while playing for the Black Stars. His failed to complete most dribbles and his passes were inaccurate and on top of that, he couldn’t retain possession.
He was in the news for the wrong reasons and some Ghanaians expressed their delight when he suffered an injury against Benin that ended his tournament.
Boye was sent off in Ghana’s opening AFCON game which ended 2-2 against Benin- he struggled to combat the West Africans’ direct and physical style, for time wasting, and therefore missed the clash with Cameroon.
He returned for the victory over Guinea-Bissau, but was found wanting in the 1-1 draw with Tunisia, struggling to deal with the North Africans’ movements and picking up a booking for his troubles.
DR Congo looked up to him entering into AFCON 2019 due to his proven track record as a creative player.
From his days at Crystal Place to Everton before his loan spells with Aston Villa, Anderlecht and now Sporting Lisbon, he was one of the best performers in the national team, but he was out of colour when thrown into the opening game against Uganda.
Yannick Bolasie lost his starting place in a team he was expected to be the go-to man.
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