The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) Round of 16 brought together some of the continent's finest footballing talents in a thrilling showcase of skill, determination, and passion.
As teams battled fiercely for a coveted spot in the quarter-finals, standout performances emerged from players who rose to the occasion when it mattered most.
From dazzling attackers to rock-solid defenders, the Round of 16 witnessed a plethora of stellar displays that left fans captivated and eager for more.
AFCON 2024 Round of 16 best XI
In this article, we'll highlight the standout performers from the AFCON 2024 Round of 16, curating a Best XI lineup that captures the essence of the excellence displayed on the field.
GK-Édouard Mendy (Senegal):
Edouard Mendy of Senegal earns my pick as the goalkeeper of the Round of 16. Despite Senegal's loss to Ivory Coast, Mendy's performance stood out with three crucial saves made inside the box and five high claims.
Additionally, he completed 30 out of 42 accurate passes (71%), executed 7 successful long balls, and won 1 ground duel and 1 aerial duel. However, his unfortunate penalty foul resulted in Ivory Coast's equaliser.
DF-Hassan Houbeib (Mauritania):
Despite Mauritania's painful loss to Cape Verde, they did not disgrace themselves. The Lions of Chinguetti put up a valiant fight, only conceding in the dying moments of the game.
Mauritania's defence remained solid and resolute, with one standout player being Hassan Houbeib. The 30-year-old made eight clearances, blocked 2 shots, recorded 1 interception. He also executed 3 successful tackles, won all four contested ground duels, and triumphed in all five aerial duels.
DF- Mothobi Mvala (South Africa):
Mvala's assertive defending and brave line-breaking passing were a big reason for Bafana Bafana defeating Morocco on Tuesday night.
His stellar performances at the heart of the South African defence added grit and dynamism to their defensive setup.
DF-Calvin Bassey (Nigeria):
The unsung hero of the Super Eagles team. Calvin Bassey has made himself one of the brightest young talents in the competition with some excellent performances.
The Fulham man was very solid in Nigeria's sweet victory over their neighbours Cameroon, he even assisted Ademola Lookman's second goal.
DM-Teboho Mokoena (South Africa):
Teboho Mokoena possesses all the qualities you want in a midfielder in that he can, in essence, do it all. His driving runs with the ball were excellent in getting his teammates up the pitch but he was just as brilliant in winning the ball back when his side were out of possession.
Mokoena scored a beautiful free-kick to win the game for Bafana Bafana in the dying embers of the game.
RM- Iban Salvador (Equatorial Guinea):
Iban Salvador's value to the Equatorial Guinea national football team cannot be overstated. In both directions Salvador was key to making the Nzalang Nacional tick.
Although they lost to Guinea, Salvador was a stand-out performer for the Equatoguineans.
CM- Azzedine Ounahi (Morocco):
Despite the high expectations from football fans, the Atlas Lions fell short of reaching the finals, a disappointment considering their remarkable performance at the last FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
While Walid Regragui and his team failed to live up to expectations, one standout player for Morocco throughout the tournament was Azeddine Ounahi. Continuously demonstrating excellence in each match, the 23-year-old once again proved his worth in their game against South Africa.
CM- Fredy (Angola):
In Angola's 3-0 victory over Namibia, Fredy played for 70 minutes, contributing with 2 assists. He recorded 38 touches and made 3 clearances, showcasing his impact on the field during the match. The Angolan skipper also recorded 20/25 (80%) accurate passes.
LM- Gelson Dala (Angola):
Gelson Dala's reputation has exploded into the stratosphere in Ivory Coast. The 27-year-old notched two goals and assisted one more in the Palancas Negras 3-0 win over Namibia.
FW- Ademola Lookman (Nigeria):
The Atalanta forward score a brace in the Super Eagles' 2-0 win over their neighbors Cameroon. He struck fear into Cameroon's defence with his devastating pace and close control in transition. Lookman was a joy to watch on the night.
FW- Meschack Elia ( DR Congo):
He offered endless work-rate and intelligence both on and off the ball that contributed to all the fine work the Leopards did against the record winners of the competition.
the Young Boys forward was also on target for his nation.