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12 African Stars to Watch out for in Russia 2018 Fifa World cup

Five countries will be representing Africa in the 2018 edition of FIFA World Cup: They include Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. And more than ever before fans from the continent expect these national teams to do well in Russia.

Indeed, Africa has one of the hottest football star in the world today Mohamed Salah, who we expect to fly African flag high, alongside other world class stars from this continent that we should watch out for during the mundial:

1. Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool)
Mo Salah, current African footballer of the year, is perhaps one of the hottest football player on planet earth today; in the class of Cristano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Most African fans are looking up to him with hope that his performance at the world cup will be enough to crown him the next Ballon d'Or become the second African after George Weah of Liberia.

As at when compiling this article, Salah has netted forty goals for liverpool and five of Egypt's eight goals en route to the Pharaohs topping a quartet that also included Ghana, and he obviously  will be one of the biggest names to be representing Africa at this year's World Cup.

2. Sadio Mane (Senegal, Liverpool)
Sadio Mane, popularly called "man of the match" by his fans and teammates, is perhaps one of the most efficient midfielder in the world today. Mane's strong showings for Liverpool  certainly a testament of his outstanding quality.

Although,  his participation for Senegal during the qualifiers was hampered due to injury, but is current form clearly shows he will be one of the stars to watch out for in the Senegalese national team at this summer's world cup showcase.

3. Victor Moses (Nigeria Chelsea)
Victor Moses, a world class utility player who has played in several positions for several top flight teams like West Ham, Fullham...and he easily switch positions playing for his club and national team... show his outstanding quality

The resurgence of Nigeria's Victor Moses as one of the best wing back for Chelsea and switch to a key attacking midfielder  when playing for  Super Eagles of Nigeria has put him in a rare class. Moses speed and tenacity with the ball is something fans should look out for at the world cup in Russia this summer.

4. Mehdi Benatia (Morocco, Juventus)
Although Benatia is not a consistent starter for Juventus, the former Roma, Udinese, and Bayern Munich defender played a vital role in securing his side's spot at World Cup 2018. The skipper's goal, which made it 2-0 for Morocco against the Ivory Coast, was enough to seal all three points and earn them a berth at the tournament for the first time in two decades.

Furthermore, his leadership from the back proved vital in Morocco making it through their group not just undefeated, but without conceding a single goal. Watch for him, we expect him to play a key role in Morocco's world cup campaign in Russia.

5. Youssef Msakni (Tunisia  Al-Duhail)
Netted a vital hat-trick on the road to inspire Tunisia's comeback against Guinea, which put them in pole position to eventually seal top spot.

Although may not be as well known as some of the others on this list, the 27-year-old, who plays his club football for Qatari side Al-Duhail, has plenty of AFCON experience and surely will be relishing his chance to shine for Tunisia at their first World Cup since 2006; if injury doesn't rule him out.

6. Alex Iwobi ( Nigeria, Arsenal)
Alex Iwobi's scored a brace to fire Nigeria to a 4-2 comeback against Argentina. Although, it was just a friendly match. But Iwobi's recent form both in the Premier league and Europa cup show he be a hand full for opponents at world cup.

 obviously excited about Nigeria's prospects ahead of next year's World Cup. The Arsenal starlet may be just 21 years old, but he's already making waves, including scoring a vital goal against Zambia to secure Nigeria's spot at the World Cup back in October.

It goes without saying that he definitely will be among the young prospects to watch out for at the World Cup this summer.

7. Achraf Hakimi (Morocco, Real Madrid)
Achraf Hakimi played a vital role in Morocco's strong showings in their qualifying process for the upcoming World Cup, where he scored 2 goals.

Although he's only 19, he's been getting some serious minutes with Real Madrid due to the absence of other more senior players. Notably, Hakimi has already featured for the reigning UCL champs in their double-header with Tottenham, as well as in La Liga and the Spanish Cup. Hakimi could be one of youngest player that world play in this year's mundial. Largely regarded as a star of the future, but his enterprise is something fans should watch out for.

8. Keita Baldé Diao (Senegal, Lazio)
Keita Baldé Diao is a great showman in pitch, his pace and trickery are among his attributes that many Serie A fans are already familiar with following Keita's four seasons with Lazio.

In his final term with the Biancocelesti, Keita netted an impressive 16 goals in 34 appearances across all competitions. A move to Monaco soon followed this past summer, where he's scored seven times, and he netted one goal during Senegal's World Cup qualifying campaign.

He'll only be 23 years old by the time the latest edition of the World Cup kicks off and definitely will be one player you will never miss during the world cup mundial this summer.

9. Essam El-Hadary (Egypt, Al-Taawoun)
Essam El-Hadary highly revered in Egypt and Saudi Arabis where he plys his trade. A four time AFCON winner - and runner-up at the latest edition.

El-Hadary will be 45 years old by the time next year's World Cup rolls around. Yes, that's right, 45 years old . He's currently the eldest ever player to feature at an AFCON tournament and played a vital role in Egypt's run to the final, including saving two spot-kicks against Burkina Faso during a tense penalty shoot-out.

Should he feature, he will thus become the eldest ever player in history to take part at the competition, and given his evergreen nature, one shouldn't bet against him playing a part for his national side next summer.

10. Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria, leicester City)
Kelechi Iheanacho largely regarded as Nigerian golden boy. Winner and Most Valuable player (MVP) of 2013 U17 Fifa World Cup, who now plays his club football for Leicester City after a time with Manchester City since 2014.

He has scored eight goals so far for his national side, including two in their recent qualifying campaign against Zambia and Algeria. Kelechi Iheanacho scored the first of the Super Eagles' goals during their recent 4-2 friendly win against Argentina.

  Iheanacho is one of the young prospects who will be eager and hungry to make a name for himself on football's biggest stage in Russia next summer, Watch out for this guy.

11. Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal, Genk)
Kalidou Koulibaly is one defender too many. Since making his move from Genk to Napoli in 2014, he  has rapidly established himself as one of the top defenders in Serie A, and for anyone who knows calcio , that's not an easy feat.

The powerful center-back has been vital to Napoli's excellent start to the league campaign which has seen them concede just eight goals in their first 12 matches. More significant is his versatility, which means he can also be used as a full-back if needed, and that, plus his strength in the air, is something Senegal will be heavily relying on next summer. Watch out for Kalidou Koulibaly!

12. Ayoub El Kaabi (Morocco, RSB)
Ayoub El Kaabi popularly known as "The Predator" or "The Killer," was a stunning revelation at the 2018 edition of African championship (CHAN) where he broke record scoring nine goals and single handedly delivered the  CHAN trophy to his host country Morocco.

El Kaabi currently plays his football as a striker for Moroccan Botola club RS Berkane, but has worked himself into the first eleven of Morocco national team.

Since his unbelievable performance at CHAN 2018, El Kaabi has become the bride of many suitors...with a transfer link to PSG, Atletico Madrid, Monaco...he will be eager to use the world cup this summer to up his value at the transfermarket. Watch out for Ayoub El Kaabi!

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