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2022 CHAN: Players who impressed in the group stage (Part 1)

The African Nations Championship brings attention to many players based at African clubs who can progress from local stardom to being discovered by top clubs on the continent as well as clubs abroad. The 2022 edition in Algeria is no different with many talented young players impressing so far from national teams representing all of Africa’s regions. After the completion of the group stage earlier this week, Pan-Africa Football’s first of two columns highlight below some of the younger talents from Groups A and B who are worth a closer look for clubs who are scouting the competition:

Click here to read part two of our feature on standout players at the CHAN.

A 19-year-old Yves Bissouma made his first major splash with Mali at the 2016 CHAN before moving to Lille and then the English Premier League

Houssem Mrezigue- Algeria (CR Belouizdad)
DOB: 23/3/2000

A member of dominant Algerian club CR Belouizdad, Mrezigue distinguished himself as a key player for Algeria from the beginning of the CHAN. A deep-lying midfielder who prefers to drop back between the central defenders, the 22-year-old is an excellent distributor from the back with his accurate long range passing. Mrezigue also showed that he can provide additional protection in the defense by aggressively looking to win the ball and start attacks.

Jonathan Ikongalombo- DR Congo (DC Motema Pembe)
DOB: 4/5/2002

It was a disastrous CHAN for two-time winners DR Congo but it was not the fault of Ikongalombo who managed to stand out in the Leopards’ attack. The DC Motema Pembe player has devastating acceleration and is fearless and confident when dribbling at opposition defenders. Ikongalombo created the majority of Congolese opportunities during their stay in Algeria, showing some potential with the final ball to go along with obvious dribbling ability and pace.

Lamine Camara- Senegal (Génération Foot)
DOB: 5/1/2003

The 19-year-old comes from Senegal’s famed Génération Foot academy and is clearly the most confident and assured player in the young Senegalese squad at the CHAN. A central midfielder who can contribute on the defensive end, Camara is at his best when moving forward and has the technical ability to break down defenses with strong passing, shooting and set piece abilities. Camara gained his first international experience at the 2022 COSAFA Cup where a domestic-based Senegal side claimed third place, scoring two goals and setting the stage for him to be the Local Lions’ star in Algeria.

Martinho Thauzene- Mozambique (Black Bulls)
DOB: 27/9/1999

Even at the age of 23 years, the Black Bulls left-footed center back has plenty of experience with the Mozambique senior national side with two COSAFA Cup participations and a regular starting role in Mozambique’s 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. Martinho’s experience showed as he anchored the Mambas’s strong defense to a surprise qualification for the CHAN quarterfinals. His positioning and reading of the game is already at a high level while his confidence continues to grow on the ball.

Mamadou Sané- Senegal (Guédiawaye FC)
DOB: 31/12/2004

Several nations at the CHAN brought young squads but Senegal were the only team to successfully progress to the knockout stages despite limited international experience, the reason why two players are featured. Sané comes from one of the country’s rising clubs in Guédiawaye FC, promoted to the country’s top tier for the 2021-22 season and performing well. The right back celebrated his 18th birthday last month with plenty of room for growth but his high energy and ability to contribute both on defense and in attack are major reasons he has played every minute for Senegal in Algeria. Needs to go to ground less on his tackles but possesses plenty of confidence on the ball and off it.

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