The AFCON qualifiers have been exciting and interesting, but the process for qualification to AFCON 2023 ended this weekend.
For the Super Eagles of Nigeria, the next focus is the World Cup qualifying matches.
The top dogs booked their places to the tournament in Ivory Coast.
AFCON 2023 will be played in January 2024, while some minnows made it through.
The tournament promises to be exciting, but let’s look at the players that made the AFCON qualifiers tick. Let’s look at the top scorers.
Victor Osimhen (Nigeria – 10) – bags hat trick against São Tomé and Príncipe
Victor Osimhen is the top scorer in the AFCON qualifiers 2023. The Napoli and Super Eagles striker sits atop the scorers list with ten goals.
Going into the final group game against São Tomé and Príncipe, Osimhen had seven goals.
Osimhen scored his first qualifier goals in the 10-0 demolition of São Tomé and Principe on June 9 2022. Osimhen scored 45% of the Super Eagles goals that evening.
Osimhen got on the act when he opened scores for the Super Eagles with a ninth-minute lead off a Moses Simon cross.
The Serie Capocannonieri got his second in the 48th minute. He followed it with two more goals in the 65th and 84th minute.
Osimhen scored three more goals in the 2-1 and 3-2 defeat of Sierra Leone.
In the first leg against Sierra Leone, he scored the winning goal and a 19th and 32nd-minute brace in the return leg.
Osimhen bagged a hat trick against São Tomé and Príncipe in a 6-0 demolition job.
Sadio Mané (Senegal – 5)
Like Osimhen, Sadio Mané scored in three AFCON qualifiers. The Senegalese and Al Nasr (Saudi Arabia) forward has five goals to put him second on the chart.
He opened his account with a hat trick in their opening group game against Benin Republic on June 4 2023.
The first goal came in the 12th minute via a penalty. Mane doubled his AFCON qualifiers tally in the 22nd minute before completing his hat trick in the 60th minute.
The former Bayern Munich and Liverpool striker got his other two goals against Rwanda in a 0-1 away win at the Stade Abdoulaye-Wade.
He also scored against Mozambique in their 5-1 win.
Youssef Msakni (Tunisia – 5)
Tunisia sailed through to AFCON 2023 with only one loss. The loss came at the hands of Equatorial Guinea. In that loss, Msakni was unavailable.
The Carthage Eagles have the prolific Youssef Msakni to thank, as he contributed five goals to the cause. Tunisia won four games, drew one and lost one to finish top of the table.
The Al Arabi (Qatar) striker scored a brace in their final group game against Botswana. The Carthage Eagles won 3-0.
He also scored a brace in the 4-0 home victory over Equatorial Guinea and one against Libya.
Louis Mafouta (Central African Rep. – 5)
Central African Republic failed to make it through the AFCON qualifiers. In their final game against Ghana, they needed a win to make it to Ivory Coast.
Despite Mafouta giving the away side the lead in the 25th minute, Ghana bounced back to knock them out.
Mafouta scored a brace each in Central African Republic’s 2-0 and 0-3 win over Madagascar.
The 29-year-old Amiens SC striker will be disappointed not to be part of the party in Ivory Coast.
Patson Daka (Zambia – 4)
Leicester City forward Patson Daka has had solid AFCON qualifiers for Zambia. The striker scored two-thirds of Zambia’s goals as they qualified for AFCON 2023 in Ivory Coast.
Zambia finished top of Group H with 13 points (same as second-placed Ivory Coast).
Daka scored four goals in the AFCON qualifiers. Two of his goals came against Ivory Coast.
He scored one in the 90th minute of the 3-1 loss to the West African nation, with the other in the 3-0 win at home.
Daka also scored a brace against Lesotho in Zambia’s 2-0 win.
Peter Shalulile (South Africa – 4)
Despite playing four games, Peter Shalulile proved to be a lethal striker. In a group that comprised Namibia and Cameroon, he led the Brave Warriors to pick five points from one win, two draws and a loss.
He scored in every AFCON qualifier match for Namibia.
The Mamelodi Sundowns striker got a goal each in the 3-2 loss to Burundi, the 2-1 win over Cameroon and the 1-1 draw at home and away to Burundi and Cameroon.
AFCON Qualifiers Top Scorers
|Louis Mafouta||Central African Rep.||5|
|Peter Shalulile||South Africa||4|
|Dango Ouattara||Burkina Faso||4|
|Mohamed El Amine Amoura||Algeria||3|
|Lyle Foster||South Africa||3|
|Ibrahim Sangaré||Ivory Coast||3|
|Peter Bentiu||South Sudan||3|
|Zinho Gano||Guinea Bissau||3|
|Toto Okello||South Sudan||3|
This article was most recently revised and updated 15 sec