All Portuguese-based players competing in African Cup of Nations
We have reached the start of the African Cup of Nations, and here we take a look at all of the players based in Portugal that are competing in this year’s event.
Overall, there are a total of 27 players currently plying their trade in Portugal involved, making Portugalone of the best represented European nations in the tournament.
One country even has as many as eleven footballers currently playing in Portugal representing them at the competition, which kicks off in Egypt on 21st June.
The first match of the competition will take place between the host’s, who have Feirense’s Ali Ghazal in their squad, and Zimbabwe at 21:00 GMT.
Here we take a look at each of the players based in Portugal included.
The famous faces
Disappointingly, there are a grand total of zero Benfica players at AFCON this year. That said, there are still a few high-profile Portuguese-based players competing in this year’s competition. Perhaps the most high-profile of them all is Porto’s Yacine Brahimi - though his time in Portugal is set to come to an end after this tournament, with his contract with the Portuguese runners-up coming to an end.
Nevertheless, the long-serving Porto player and Algerian international will be hoping to play a significant role in leading his team to glory, Algeria one of the favourites to win the entire competition.
Moreirense centreback Rafik Halliche, who has represented Algeria 39 times, is also included in the squad.
Brahimi has two fellow Porto teammates also competing in this year’s tournament; striker Moussa Marega is representing Mali, the 28-year old being the joint 3rd top scorer in the Champions League last season, while Chancel Mbemba will also feature at the competitionfor the Democratic Republic of Congo, who are in a group with both Egypt and Zimbabwe, in addition to Uganda.
There are also two Sporting players in the African Cup of Nations this season: Bruno Gaspar, who was born in Portugal and represented Portugal at U21 level, is representing Angola, while Abdoulay Diaby is representing Mali up front alongside Porto’s Marega.
Alongside Bruno Gaspar, Braga forward Wilson Eduardo is representing Angola, Wilson having also been born in Portugal and represented the Selecao at youth level.
Nation with eleven Portuguese-based players
Unsurprisingly, both Angola and Guinea-Bissau have a heavy presence of Portuguese-based players, Angola having a total of 6 representatives, including both Wilson Eduardo and Bruno Gaspar, who are both appearing at their first major tournament for the country.
Alongside them, Rio Ave’s Jonathan Buatu, who plays as a centreback, is also in the Angola team, as is fellow Rio Ave representative Gelson Dala. Dala, 22, has been a tremendous performer for Rio Ave, on loan from Sporting CP, and has an excellent record for Angola, scoring 11 goals in 22 games for his country. Dala is most certainly one to watch out for in the competition.
The other two Angola players currently based in Portugal are Mateus, the experienced 35-year old having represented his country 57 times from attack, and Evandro Brandao, who represents second division side Leixoes.
However, while Angola have a significant Portuguese contingent in their ranks, Guinea-Bissau boast no fewer than 11 players who are currently based in Portugal, including one of the Primeira Liga’s top performers in Mama Balde, who represented Aves last season, on loan from Sporting. Bura is also on the books of Aves and representing Guinea-Bissau at this year’s AFCON, although his only senior appearance last season came in the Allianz Cup.
Other top flight players representing Guinea Bissau are Nadjack (Rio Ave), Nanu (Maritimo), Mamadu Cande (Santa Clara), Joao Jaquite (Tondela), and Frederic Mendy (Vitoria Setubal).
Players from the lower leagues in Portugal
But not all the players based in Portugal competing in AFCON this year are from the Primeira Liga - or even the Segunda Liga.
Rui Dabo, for example, is also part of the Guinea-Bissau squad, and represents Algarve club CF Armacenenses, who compete in the third tier of Portuguese football (Campeonato de Portugal group D). They finished 8th in the 18-team division last campaign.
And Dabo’s not the only one representing the Portuguese 3rd tier in AFCON 2019. Burundi defensive midfielder Christophe Nduwarugira has also been called up, and represents Portuguese Amadora, who last season 6th in the Campeonato de Portugal group D.
Full list of Portuguese-based players:
Egypt: Ali Ghazal - FEIRENSE
DR Congo: Chancel Mbemba - PORTO
Burundi: Christophe Nduwarugira - AMORA
Algeria: Rafik Halliche - MOREIRENSE
Algeria: Yacine Brahimi - PORTO
Mali: Moussa Marega - PORTO
Mali: Falaye Sacko - VITORIA GUIMARAES
Mali: Abdoulay Diaby - SPORTING CP
Angola: Bruno Gaspar - SPORTING CP
Angola: Jonathan Buatu - RIO AVE
Angola: Gelson Dala - RIO AVE
Angola: Mateus - BOAVISTA
Angola: Evandro Brandao - LEIXOES SC
Angola: Wilson Eduardo - BRAGA
Cameroon: Joel Tagueu - MARITIMO
Guinea-Bissau: Jonas Mendes - ACADEMICA VISEU
Guinea-Bissau: Nadjack - RIO AVE
Guinea-Bissau: Bura - AVES
Guinea-Bissau: Joao Jaquite - TONDELA
Guinea-Bissau: Romario Balde - ACADEMICA
Guinea-Bissau: Rui Dabo - ARMACENENSES
Guinea-Bissau: Frederic Mendy - VITORIA SETUBAL
Guinea-Bissau: Juary Soares - MAFRA
Guinea-Bissau: Mama Balde - AVES
Guinea-Bissau: Sori Mane - COVA PIEDADE
Guinea-Bissau: Nanu - MARITIMO
Guinea-Bissau: Mamadu Cande - SANTA CLARA