With the official kick-off of the 2023 AFCON tournament just eleven days away, the excitement is building. Set to be hosted in Ivory Coast from January 13th to February 11th, our focus turns to five goalkeepers poised to shine in the competition. Known for their quick reflexes, point-blank range saves, and the rare ability to play out from the back, these goalkeepers are ones to watch.
Ronwen Hayden Williams – South Africa
Formerly a Tottenham player, Williams has been a consistent presence for Bafana Bafana since 2021, accumulating a total of thirty-four appearances under Hugo Broos. In the current DStv Premiership season, the 31-year-old has demonstrated his prowess by keeping nine clean sheets in eleven games for Mamelodi Sundowns, conceding a mere two goals. Ronwen not only showcases exceptional goalkeeping skills but also assumes a leadership role in the South African team’s defense.
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Mohamed El Shenawy – Egypt
At 35 years old, El Shanewy made his debut for the Egyptian National team in 2018 and has since accumulated over 50 appearances for The Pharaohs. A three-time CAF Champions League winner, he boasts eight clean sheets this term and played a key role in all of his team’s matches at the recently concluded FIFA Club World Cup. Determined to lead his side to victory in Ivory Coast, the Al Ahly goalkeeper played an instrumental role in Egypt’s second-place finish in Cameroon.
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Yassine Bounou – Morocco
The two-time Europa League winner with Sevilla, Bounou, currently plays for the Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal. Notably, he made headlines during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, becoming the first African goalkeeper to secure three clean sheets in the tournament’s history. He further showcased his exceptional skills by saving two penalty kicks in Morocco’s victory over Spain in the round of sixteen. Now geared up, Bounou is ready to stand strong in goal and thwart opponents in the upcoming AFCON tournament in Ivory Coast.
Stanley Nwabali – Nigeria
Named to the Super Eagles squad for his debut tournament, Nwabali could be the wildcard for Jose Peseiro’s team. The Portuguese tactician expressed his choice for the former Lobi Stars goalkeeper after witnessing his impressive performances live. Although Francis Uzoho is the frontrunner for the starting position, Nwabali, the Chippa United goalkeeper, is poised to compete fiercely for the coveted number one spot. With an impressive record of seven clean sheets in fifteen games this season, Nwabali is ready to make his mark in the Green and Whites.
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Andre Onana – Cameroon
The past year has been a rollercoaster of emotions for the 27-year-old. Following a stellar season with Inter Milan that saw him reach the UEFA Champions League final, his move to Manchester United has been less than ideal. Conceding 45 goals in just 28 games, many attributed to his errors, the former Ajax goalkeeper is resolute in turning things around. The AFCON break could serve as a pivotal moment in his season and, possibly, for Cameroon as a whole.