The AFCON group stages have drawn to a close, with heavyweights Morocco, Ivory Coast and Cameroon all progressing, while defending champions Algeria and powerhouse Ghana both crashed out.
Using their unique rating system, WhoScored.com delve into their best rated team of the group stages…
Goalkeeper: Mohamed Kamara (Sierra Leone) – 7.67 rating
Establishing himself as a cult hero for Sierra Leone at AFCON, Mohamed Kamara occupies the spot between the sticks in the WhoScored.com team of the group stages with a rating of 7.67. Kamara made more saves (17) than any other goalkeeper with his solid displays earning impressive results against powerhouses Algeria and the Ivory Coast. It’s a shame that Sierra Leone’s group stage exit means we won’t see more of Kamara in the next round.
Right-back: Achraf Hakimi (Morocco) – 7.48 rating
The first of two Morocco representatives features at right-back. Achraf Hakimi earned a respectable WhoScored.com rating of 7.48 from his three group stage outings, saving his best-rated display until last as he played a key role in Morocco’s 2-2 draw with Gabon to round off Group C and scored his first goal of the tournament. Only two players made more tackles than Hakimi (11) to contribute towards his inclusion.
Centre-back: Pape Abou Cisse (Senegal) – 7.42 rating
The sole Senegal player to make the cut is Pape Abou Cisse. Senegal didn’t concede in either game Cisse started as 10 clearances and eight aerial duels won ensured the Lions of Teranga were rarely troubled by opposition attacks on the ground or in the air. The 26-year-old, then, is good value for his selection with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.42.
Centre-back: Mustafa Karshoum (Sudan) – 7.19 rating
Sudan may have crashed out of AFCON at the group stages after collecting just one point from their three matches, but Mustafa Karshoum was solid at the back across his three outings. A return of 12 clearances ranked among the top 10 players, as did nine tackles and seven interceptions, securing his spot in the side with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.19.
Left-back: Nouhou Tolo (Cameroon) – 7.25 rating
AFCON hosts Cameroon have two players in the best XI with Nouhou Tolo excelling from left-back. The 24-year-old set out his intentions for a successful AFCON with a man-of-the-match showing in Cameroon’s 2-1 win over Burkina Faso in the opening match. He got forward well, with his seven dribbles ranking among the top 10 players to yield a WhoScored.com rating of 7.25.
Right midfield: Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast) – 7.82 rating
While Arsenal have endured a torrid start to 2022, Nicolas Pepe has shone for the Ivory Coast, making the team with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.82. Pepe had a direct hand in three of their six goals, scoring twice, with his one assist coming from seven key passes – the latter ranking among the top 10 players.
Central midfield: Moses Simon (Nigeria) – 7.93 rating
Nigeria star Moses Simon was one of two players to win multiple WhoScored.com man-of-the-match awards in wins over Sudan and Guinea-Bissau. Simon completed more dribbles (15) than any other player in the group stages, while one goal and one assist saw the 26-year-old earn a WhoScored.com rating of 7.93.
Central midfield: Ibrahim Sangare (Ivory Coast) – 7.61 rating
Partnering Simon in the middle of the park is the Ivory Coast’s second representative. Ibrahim Sangare scored one and assisted another in the Elephants’ successful group stage campaign and he should have had more of the latter having created seven goalscoring chances. Sangare also ranked among the top 10 players for tackles and interceptions combined (13) to help return a WhoScored.com rating of 7.61.
Right midfield: Sofiane Boufal (Morocco) – 7.59 rating
Only Algeria’s Youcef Belaili (12) made more key passes than Sofiane Boufal (10) in the group stages of AFCON as the Morocco star rounds off the midfield with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.59. Boufal netted twice for the Atlas Lions in the Group C campaign, earning Morocco an additional four points.
Striker: Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon) – 8.18 rating
With a rating of 8.18, Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar is the WhoScored.com player of the group stages of AFCON. Aboubakar scored more goals (5) than any other player in the group stages, while only four teams – including Cameroon – hit the back of the net more times than the 29-year-old. The frontman’s five goals came from 15 shots – also more than any other player – to feature on the frontline.
Striker: Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia) – 8.02 rating
Joining Aboubakar in attack is Tunisia star Wahbi Khazri. He put in the best-rated showing of AFCON so far, earning a perfect WhoScored.com 10 rating in Tunisia’s 4-0 win over Mauritania, a victory in which he had a direct hand in three goals to aid the 30-year-old in returning an average rating of 8.02.