The timing of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) may have come as an inconvenience to players and clubs in Europe but it gives time for business pundits to gauge the most expensive side of the 24 teams featuring at the ongoing 2021 edition of AFCON in Cameroon.
Data gleaned from the global football statistics website, transfermarkt, show 10 teams including star-studded Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Super Eagles of Nigeria stand out as the most valuable team at the AFCON tournament.
The criteria for selecting the valuation of the teams are based on their current squads at AFCON and the present value of their players.
Senegal is currently ranked the most valuable African side at the AFCON. The Lions of Teranga are valued at €341.90 million, with Liverpool forward Sadio Mane’s valuation reaching €80 million, according to transfermarkt.
The team’s other valuable players include Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) – €32 million, Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli) – €45 million, and Ismaïla Sarr (Watford) – €27 million with over 14 trophies between them.
Surprisingly, the Senegalese team is yet to have a taste of glory on the international scene since the inception of AFCON.
The Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire are second on the list with €306.10 million worth of players.
The two times AFCON champion boasts of star-studded players like Franck Kessié (AC Milan) – €48 million, Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – €40 million, Nicolas Pépé (Arsenal) – €30 million, among others.
Other notable mentions include, Sébastien Haller (Ajax), Jérémie Boga (Sassuolo) and Odilon Kossounou all worth a combined €73 million.
The Super Eagles have been listed as the third most expensive side with a squad valuation worth €244.28 million.
Leicester City’s midfielder Wilfred Ndidi is the country’s most valuable player with a market valuation of €60 million, followed by Kelechi Iheanacho and Samuel Chukwueze at €20 million, respectively.
Everton forward Alex Iwobi and Almeria striker Sadiq Umar are valued at €18 million each. Germany-based Taiwo Awoniyi has a valuation of €15 million while Frank Onyeka and Joe Aribo both have a tag of €10 million apiece.
The second-best country in the continent, according to the latest Confederation of African Football (CAF) ranking, comes fourth with a staggering €214.70 million.
However, the Morocco national team also known as “the Atlas Lions” who are without Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) in the team have Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint Germain) – €70 million and Youssef En-nesyri (Sevilla) – €40 million valuation each.
The current African champions have the fifth most valuable squad in Africa with a current squad worth €187.30 million. They are led by star-man and captain, Riyad Mahrez, who is also the most expensive player on the team.
The 29-year-old signed for Manchester City from Leicester City for a reported fee of £60 million. Mahrez is City’s record signing, but his value has dropped to £40 million.
Other stars in Les Fennecs squad included 2019 AFCON’s golden ball winner Ismaël Bennacer (AC Milan) – €30 million; Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) – €40 million; Ismaël Bennacer (AC Milan) – €30 million, and Saïd Benrahma (West Ham) – €25 million.
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Despite having Mohamed Salah, who is valued at €100 million, eight-time African champions, Egypt could only settle for the sixth spot with a team valuation of €161.80 million.
The country’s most valuable players include Trezeguet (Aston Villa) – €10 million; Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal) – €9 million; Mostafa Mohamed (Galatasaray) – €5.5 million; Omar Marmoush (VFB Stuttgart) – €4.5 million, and Ahmed Hegazy (Al-Ittihad) – €4 million.
The West Africans, also known as Les Aigles and is managed by Mohamed Magassouba and has the seventh most valuable squad in Africa worth €152.35 million. Ranked 53rd in the world and ninth in Africa, Mali’s team has an average age of 25 and has a total of 21 players abroad.
The country’s top players include Yves Bissouma (Brighton and Hove Albion) – €25 million; Mohamed Camara (Red Bull Salzburg) – €23 million; Amadou Haidara (RasenBallsport Leipzig) – €24 million; Diadié Samassékou (TSG Hoffenheim) – €14 million, and Moussa Djenepo (Southampton) – €11 million.
The host of this year’s AFCON competition sits comfortably in the eighth position with €140 million in squad depth.
The following players make Cameroon’s most valued: André Zambo Anguissa (Napoli) – €30 million; André Onana (Ajax) – €15 million; Karl Toko Ekambi (Olympique Lyon) – €15 million; Vincent Aboubakar (Al-Nassr) – €9 million, and Ignatius Ganago (Lens) – €7 million.
The Indomitable Lions are ranked seventh on the continent and 50th in the world.
The Black Stars have produced world-class stars like Michael Essien and Abedi Pele in the past, but right now they don’t have that, and that is why they are the ninth-most valuable team in Africa.
The four-time African champions are valued at €128.13 million and have an average age of 25.6 years. Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey is Ghana’s most valuable player (€40m) while Swansea striker Andre Ayew is the team’s captain.
Other valuable players in the team include Kamaldeen Sulemana (Stade Rennais) – €20 million; Mohammed Kudus (Ajax) – €15 million; Alexander Djiku (R. Strasbourg) – €8 million; Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace) – €6 million.
The Guinea national football team maintains the tenth position with €94.75 million.
Naby Keïta (Liverpool) – €30 million; Ilaix Moriba (RB Leipzig) – €20 million; Mohamed Bayo (Clermont) – €10 million; Amadou Diawara (AS Roma) – €10 million; Saïdou Sow (Saint-Étienne) – €4 million.
However, the five least valued countries in the competition are Eswatini – €0.20 million; Djibouti – €0.13 million; São Tomé and Príncipe – €0.13 million; Seychelles – Nil and Mauritius – Nil.