On Friday, June 21, the 2019 continental Africa Cup of Nations will kick off with dozens of Muslim players been listed to take part in the 24-team tournament.
Here are a number of Muslim players participating in major African squads.
Sadio Mane – Senegal
Sadio Mané, 27, is the captain of the Muslim West African country of Senegal.
Mané has earned 60 caps for Senegal since his debut in 2012 and represented the national team at the 2012 Olympics, 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. A few days ago, Mané won the 2019 Premier League Golden Boot with 22 goals.
Mohamed Salah – Egypt
Egyptian winger and forward Mohamed Salah is considered by experts to be one of the best players in the world. Fresh from his Champions League win with Liverpool, he’ll want to add international honours to his achievements with the tournament hosts.
Wahbi Khazri – Tunisia
Wahbi Khazri, who plays for French Ligue 1 side Saint-Étienne, is one of the most prominent players in the Tunisia national team.
Khazri represented Tunisia at under-20 level and France at under-21. He made his senior debut for the former in 2013 and represented the country at three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Ahmed Musa – Nigeria
Ahmed Musa is one of the best players in the Nigerian national team.
Born in Nigeria in October 1992, the Muslim star was among the key players who played for Nigeria in the World Cup 2014. The forward player currently plays for Saudi Arabian team Al-Nassr. He scored twice at last summer’s World Cup in Russia, having done the same four years earlier in Brazil.
Hakim Ziyech – Morocco
Hakim Ziyech, who plays as an attacking midfielder for Ajax and for the Morocco national team, is known for his finishing, dribbling, speed, technique and free kick ability.
A highly creative player and a goalscorer, he racked up 16 goals and 13 assists in the Eredivisie during the previous campaign, and will now be looking to contribute to more goals for this talented Morocco side.
Ismaël Bennacer – Algeria
A standout player for Empoli in Serie A last season, the tenacious creative midfielder might not get into the team straight away, but coach Djamel Belmadi would do well to include him sooner rather than later.
The former Arsenal youth has been linked with a move away from Empoli, thanks to his recent performances, during which he displayed a range of passing to go with good technique and vision. He’s also adept at winning the ball back from the opposition.
Sékou Koïta – Mali
19-Year-old Sékou Koïta is one of the most important players in the Malian national team.
He plays for forward for Austrian Football Bundesliga club Wolfsberger AC and the Mali national team. He is on loan from FC Liefering.
Kalidou Koulibaly – Senegal
Born June 20, 1991, Kalidou Koulibaly is a professional footballer who plays as center back for Serie A club Napoli and the Senegal national team.
He later made his senior debut with Senegal in 2015 and was a member of the Senegal squad that took part at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. He was named to the side that represented Senegal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Naby Laye Keïta – Guinea
Naby Laye Keïta, 24, is a Guinean professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Premier League club Liverpool and captains the Guinea national team.
Islam Slimani – Algeria
Algerian team puts hopes on many starts including Islam Slimani who plays as a striker for Süper Lig club Fenerbahçe on loan from Leicester City.