The pleasure that the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) brings to the footballing world and African football fans, in particular, cannot be over-emphasized. The tournament’s timing has been questioned because of the effect it has on the major European leagues as it takes place just when major leagues in Europe begin their crucial second half.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) scheduled this year’s tournament for June which was met by a lot of positive feedback, but due to unpredicted climatic conditions expected at that time, the tournament was rescheduled to take place between the 9th of January and the 6th of February 2022.
As it has over time affected big European leagues with the African players’ involvement, next year won’t be any different. Teams like Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG, and Napoli to name but a few are going to see some of their best players missing due to their involvement in AFCON and if this is not properly handled could become a huge factor in determining how the entire football season turns out.
However, beyond the players’ involvement playing for their club, fantasy league players have to make a decision on how these players could affect their performance as the popularity of the fantasy league keeps increasing year on year.
However, there have been many players who have been so productive for managers across the world, one such player is Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah who currently leads the English Premier League goal scoring and assist chart with 13 goals and 9 assists respectively.
Beyond his league goals and assists, the Egyptian player is arguably the most productive player for many managers in fantasy games this season – with stellar performances week-in-week-out this season, Salah is sitting in pole position to drive Liverpool to their second Premier League title come May.
With Bernado Silva’s new-found groove, Manchester City is in pole position to win the League at 4/7 odds ahead of impressive Salah’s Liverpool at 3/1. He might be missing for up to six weeks during AFCON and City could take advantage of the outstanding Silva within that period. So, this is the time for fans to check draftkings odds boost and decide which of the two to put on their upcoming online betting slip.
In fact, Salah’s stellar impact has become apparent across the football world with many of the opinions that the Egyptian is arguably the best football player in the world at the moment, producing consistent world-class performances week in week out.
However, while his absence will be greatly felt by Liverpool, so many fantasy league managers are beginning to look for which player could be a perfect replacement for the Egyptian during the AFCON. While there are many players who could replace Salah, there are only really a few players who could take up the mantle.
There are many players that will be leaving the Premier League to represent their nation in the soon-to-begin AFCON. The likes of Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez, Chelsea’s Eduardo Mendy, and the Liverpool duo of Sadio Mane and Nabil Keita among others, are all expected to grace the AFCON, with these players out, the impact these players have on various fantasy league managers across the globe cannot be overlooked.
More importantly, classy players are not easily replaced in a team and so is the void that would be left behind by Salah when he represents his nation in January.
Salah is looking likely to be the best player in the EPL this season and he is rightly known as the best asset in the Fantasy league with his already highly consistent performances, but in his absence due to AFCON, it is expected that several players will want to take center stage for themselves and below are some players who could step up in the absence of Salah.
To most managers across the globe, mitigating the loss of Salah for up to six weeks which could amount to four Premier League weeks of action and to compete at the highest level of the game, a player that is emerging as one of the best candidates to replace him is Son Heung-Min.
The Korean international is gradually getting his mojo back, and although he had a slow start to life in the current Premier League campaign, his newfound purpose under the guidance of Antonio Conte is quite perilous and any manager hoping to replace Salah could consider the services of the Tottenham Hotspur attacker.
It is worth knowing that Son provides a great return for the managers who have entrusted the attacker in their selection with 6 goals and 2 assists, despite starting so slow in this campaign – but his all round involvement in the Spurs’ play puts him in a pole position to the to take center stage in Salah’s absence and also provides a good return on the Fantasy Premier League (FPL).
Cristiano Ronaldo is also another strong candidate likely to replace Salah and is the most likely source of goals for Manchester United in recent times and seeing just how that continues with the new manager at the helm is something to look forward to.
Ronaldo has delivered over time in world football, he is arguably the best player to ever play the game and at 36 years of age he still produces world-class performances on a weekly basis, it is hard to look past him in this regard.
More importantly, the Portuguese veteran looks certain to be the player who takes the United penalties and free kicks and that is quite an advantage when considering who replaces Salah in many fantasy league teams.
Bernardo Silva is one of the shining lights of the Manchester City team so far this season with eye-catching performances with 7 goals and 1 assist, you cannot take anything away from the Portuguese maestro whose magic feet often come to play in big game moments.
The Portuguese attacker has shown over time that he can also take the center stage when in his best form and it won’t be surprising to see him pull his weight in the absence of Mo Salah – and with the consistency that comes from his patience and understanding of the game, making him first choice to replace the departing Salah.
Other notable mentions in Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Diogo Jota, and Kai Havertz among others would also be worth considering as a replacement during Salah’s absence.