The 2023 AFCON tournament is officially eleven days away from its official kick-off. The tournament will be hosted in Ivory Coast from January 13th to February 11th.
Soccernet.ng looks into five goalkeepers who can light up the tournament with quick reflexes, and point-blank range saves, alongside the rare ability to play out from the back.
1. Ronwen Hayden Williams – South Africa, Mamelodi Sundowns
Formerly on the books of Tottenham, Williams has been a regular for the Bafana Bafana since 2021, making a total of thirty-four appearances for Hugo Broos‘ side. In the DsTV Premiership this season, the 31-year-old has kept nine clean sheets in eleven games for Mamelodi Sundowns, conceding just two goals. Aside from his goalkeeping antics, Ronwen is also a leader at the back for the South African team, and his performances will play a huge part in how far the Bafana Bafana can go in Ivory Coast.
2. Mohamed El Shenawy – Egypt, Al Ahly
The 35-year-old made his debut for the Egyptian National team in 2018, and since then, has played over 50 games for The Pharaos. A three-time CAF Champions League winner, El Shanewy has eight clean sheets to his name this term, and featured in all of his side’s games at the just concluded FIFA Club World Cup. The Al Ahly goalkeeper helped Egypt to a second-place finish in Cameroon and will be looking to go all the way with his side in Ivory Coast.
3. Yassine Bounou – Morocco, Al-Hilal SFC
The two-time Europa League winner with Sevilla now plies his trade in Saudi Arabian side, Al-Hilal. Bounou made headlines at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, as he became the first African goalkeeper to keep three clean sheets in the history of the tournament. He also saved two spot kicks as Morocco defeated Spain in the round of sixteen tie between both sides and is set to keep opponents at bay at the AFCON tournament in Ivory Coast.
4. Stanley Nwabali – Nigeria, Chippa United
Called into the Super Eagles squad for his first-ever tournament, Nwabali might be the jockey card for Jose Peseiro’s team. The Portuguese tactician explained he chose the former Lobi Stars goalkeeper after watching him live and was impressed by the performances of the 27-year-old. Francis Uzoho is widely tipped to be the starter for the Green and Whites, but should the tide favour Nwabali, the Chippa United goalkeeper will do his best to tie down the number one spot in the team. He has also kept seven clean sheets in fifteen games this term.
5. Andre Onana – Cameroon, Manchester United
The past year has been a rollercoaster of emotions for the 27-year-old. A stellar season with Inter Milan saw him reach the final of the UEFA Champions League, but his move to Manchester United hasn’t turned out to be great so far. He has shipped in 45 goals in just 28 games, with a lot of those coming from his errors. However, the former Ajax goalkeeper is determined to turn that around, and the AFCON break could be the turning point in his season, and for Cameroon as a whole.