Following the conclusion of the group stage of TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) 2022 in Algeria, the Technical Study Group (TSG) has released their Best XI.
With three clean sheets in three games, Algerian custodian Alexis Guendouz has been impressive so far making sure that the Desert Foxes avoid conceding but has also provided a comfortable cushion and given the team balance at the back.
At right back, Eddie Afonso of Angola stood out in the group stages for his consistent runs on the right wing providing both offensive options for the very attacking Palancas Negras side as well as defensive cover on the other end.
Afonso provided the assist for Angola’s first goal at the tournament for Laurindo Aurelio commonly known as Depu to open their account in Oran.
In central defence, Niger’s Ismael Souley and Chouaib Keddad of Algeria partner directly in front of the goal for their ability to communicate, prevent opposing players from scoring as well as clear anything and everything in front of them.
Their movement on and off the ball also impressed the TSG as they zeroed down on the pair for their role in also helping their teams to progress in the tournament.
Cheikh Sidibe of Senegal comes in at left-back for his modern-day execution of this role. He is fast, intentional and precise in his runs and has the ability to swing in crosses from the left that causes problems for the opposition.
In their decisive match against the Democratic Republic of Congo that they won 3-0, Sidibe had a 71% passing accuracy from the left wing and made three key tackles to deny the Leopards who huffed and puffed but failed to find the back of the net.
In the middle of the pack, Senegal’s Lamine Camara sits to the right of a three-man midfield while Madagascar’s Solomampionona Razafindranaivo provides the pivot and Houssem Mrezigue of Algeria sits to the left of this trio that gives both offensive options upfront with the ability to track back and regain possession and control of the game.
To complete the attacking flavour in this side is Gilberto on the right side of the three-man frontline. The blond-haired Angolan is the ideal man you need on your team to provide the width and orchestrate run-ins to the box and force the opposition defense to make mistakes. He consistently did that against Mali and Mauritania.
He was named the TotalEnergies Man-of-the-Match in their second game against Mauritania – a goalless draw.
Jonathan Ikangalombo of the Democratic Republic of Congo comes in at the left, basking with attacking power and speed in a way that any defense will find problems defending his energy and skill.
He showcased an eye for goal and released the ball at the right time and place but unfortunately, his teammates failed to make it count as the Leopards left the tournament without scoring a single goal in three games.
To top off this selection is the 19-year-old Sankara Karamoko who has been impressive in the three games that Côte d’Ivoire have played in Algeria.
His eye for goal has stood out and particularly his goal against Uganda in their last Group B fixture affirmed what everyone knew – a goal poacher who will find a goal even from half a chance.
And when he drew in three Ugandan defenders to lay the ball for the open substitute Aubin Kouame who found the back of the net, this action not only showed his good game reading but also that he is a team player.
He walked away with the TotalEnergies Man-of-the-Match Award of that game and is a man that has been praised consistently even by the opposition.
At the helm of this team is Madagascar coach Romuald Rakotondrabe. His ability to take responsibility for his team’s actions to take the pressure of a young team representing a nation featuring at the CHAN for their very first time ever has been remarkable.
He was able to take each game as it came and gave his players the confidence to believe in themselves as a team that can progress from the group stages and dream big at the continental competition.
Alexis Guendouz (Algeria)
Eddie Afonso (Angola)
Ismael Souley (Niger)
Chouaib Keddad (Algeria)
Sheikh Sidibe (Senegal)
Lamine Camara (Senegal)
Houssem Mrezigue (Algeria)
Sankara Karamoko (Côte d’Ivoire)
Jonathan Ikangalombo (Democratic Republic of Congo)