AFCON 2019: Ighalo wins top scorer award, makes Best XI

AFCON: Best XI as Odion Ighalo makes team.
AFCON: Best XI as Odion Ighalo makes team.

Super Eagles striker, Odion Ighalo, has emerged as top scorer at the just concluded 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Ighalo with five goals to his name finished ahead of big guns like Riyad Mahrez and Sadio Mane who both finished on three goals respectively for Algeria and Senegal.

The Nigerian was also the top scorer during the qualifying series for AFCON 2019. Then, Ighalo scored seven goals as the Super Eagles secured qualification for the continent’s biggest football event after missing out on back-to-back editions.

Aside from winning the Golden Boot usually given to top scorers in tournaments of this magnitude, Ighalo was also included in the team of the tournament (BEST XI).

Only players from four out of the 24 teams that took part in AFCON 2019 made it to the BEST XI.

Senegal had the most representation with five of their players making the cut. Algeria got four while Nigeria and Tunisia had a player each in the crack squad which has Algeria tactician, Djamel Belmadi, as the coach.

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Besides winning the trophy for the second time in their history, champions Algeria also dominated in the individual awards category as the Total Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019 reached its climax.

Midfielder Ismael Bennacer was adjudged the Total Man of the Competition, the prize for the most valuable player of the tournament.

The 21-year old had a big say as ‘Les Fennecs’ cruised to the title, their first since 1990.

Goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi won a double on the final day. He was decorated as the continent’s best goalkeeper, the award for the best shot-stopper of the competition. He also picked up the Total Man of the Match award of the final match.

Senegal took consolation in midfielder Krepin Diatta, who was named Best Young Player of the tournament. The team also won the Fair Play award.

Below are the awards:

Total Man of the Competition: Ismael Bennacer (Algeria)

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Continental best goalkeeper: Rais M’Bolhi (Algeria)

Top scorer: Odion Jude Ighalo (Nigeria) – 5 goals

Best Young Player: Krepin Diatta (Senegal)

Fair Play: Senegal

Best XI

Goalkeeper: Rais M’Bolhi (Algeria)

Defenders: Lamine Gassama (Senegal), Yassine Meriah (Tunisia), Youssouf Sabaly (Senegal), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal),

Midfielders: Adlene Guediora (Algeria), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Senegal), Ismael Bennacer (Algeria)

Forwards: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Sadio Mane (Senegal), Odion Jude Ighalo (Nigeria)

Coach: Djamel Belmadi (Algeria)

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