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AFCON 2023 top scorers: Mohamed Salah and Victor Osimhen among the favourites

Cameron Smith
Mohamed Salah, Victor Osimhen
© ProShots

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations is nearly upon us, with the continent’s best teams and players ready to do battle over a one-month tournament to see which nation emerges triumphant.

The tournament was due to be held last summer, but rain issues in Ivory Coast ensured it was delayed until January 2024.

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As a result, many top players in European leagues have been forced to leave their domestic clubs mid-season in order to compete for their countries. Premier League stars Andre Onana, Mohamed Salah and Nicolas Jackson are among those who are set to miss club fixtures for AFCON.

Morocco head into the tournament as favourites following their incredible run to the World Cup semi-finals in late 2022, but Ghana, Senegal, Algeria, Nigeria, Cameroon and hosts Ivory Coast are also considered likely to lift the trophy on 11 February.

Although the tournament is no longer blessed with stars such as Jay-Jay Okocha and Didier Drogba, there are still some big-names set to be in action at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

As a result, the prize of ending the tournament as AFCON’s top goal-scorer is a highly-coveted one.

Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar won the award in 2022 (following a delay to the 2021 edition) after he bagged eight goals in just seven games as his nation finished third.

Mohamed Salah will be looking to win the 2023 AFCON Golden Boot
© ProShots – Mohamed Salah will be looking to win the 2023 AFCON Golden Boot

This year, he will be hoping to retain his crown, but will face serious competition from a number of stars.

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Victor Osimhen, Nicolas Jackson, Riyad Mahrez, Youssef En-Nesyri, Sébastien Haller, Inaki Williams, Mohammed Kudus and Hakim Ziyech are among the favourites to end 2023 AFCON as the top-scorer.

What are the AFCON Golden Boot tiebreaker rules?

If two or more players finish level on goals at the top of the standings, the Golden Boot goes to the player with the most assists.

Africa Cup of Nations all-time top goal-scorers

Player Country Goals
1. Samuel Eto’o Cameroon 18
2. Laurent Pokou Ivory Coast 14
3. Rashidi Yekini Nigeria 13
4. Hassan El-Shazly Egypt 12
5. Patrick Mboma Cameroon 11
= Hossam Hassan Egypt 11
= Didier Drogba Ivory Coast 11
8. Ndaye Mulamba DR Congo (Zaire) 10
= Francileudo Santos Tunisia 10
= Joel Tiehi Ivory Coast 10

Cameroon legend Samuel Eto’o is the top goal-scorer in Africa Cup of Nations history with 18 strikes in the competition. The ex-Barcelona, Inter and Chelsea forward scored in all six of his AFCON tournament appearances, including five in both 2006 and 2008.

Chelsea legend Didier Drogba is also included in the top 10 list of all-time AFCON goal-scorers thanks to his 11 goals in the competition. He is not the highest-scoring Ivory Coast player in Africa Cup of Nations history, however. Legendary striker Laurent Pokou netted 14 times in the tournament – the second-most ever.

Africa Cup of Nation Golden Boot winners

Tournament Player Goals
1957 Ad El Diba (Egypt) 5
1959 Mahmoud El-Gohary (Egypt) 3
1962 Two players 3
1963 Hassan El-Shazly (Egypt) 6
1965 Three players 3
1968 Laurent Pokou (Ivory Coast) 6
1970 Laurent Pokou (Ivory Coast) 8
1972 Fantamady Keita (Mali) 5
1974 Ndaye Mulamba (Zaire/DR Congo) 9
1976 Mamadou Aliou Keïta (Guinea) 4
1978 Three players 4
1980 Two players 3
1982 George Alhassan (Ghana) 4
1984 Taher Abouzeid (Egypt) 4
1986 Roger Milla (Cameroon) 4
1988 Four players 2
1990 Djamel Menad (Algeria) 4
1992 Rashidi Yekini (Nigeria) 4
1994 Rashidi Yekini (Nigeria) 5
1996 Kalusha Bwalya (Zambia) 5
1998 Two players 7
2000 Shaun Bartlett (South Africa) 5
2002 Three players 3
2004 Four players 4
2006 Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon) 5
2008 Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon) 5
2010 Gedo (Egypt) 5
2012 Seven players 3
2013 Two players 4
2015 Five players 3
2017 Junior Kabananga (DR Congo) 3
2019 Odion Ighalo (Nigeria) 5
2021 Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon) 8

Mengistu Worku (Ethiopia) and Badawi Abdel Fattah (Egypt) both scored three goals in 1962.

Eustache Mangle (Ivory Coast), Osei Kofi (Ghana) and Ben Acheampong Simmons (Ghana) each scored three goals in 1965.

Opoku Afriyie (Ghana), Phillip Omondi (Uganda) and Segun Odegbami (Nigeria) each scored three goals in 1978.

Segun Odegbami (Nigeria) and Khalid Labied (Morocco) both scored three goals in 1980.

Lakhdar Belloumi (Algeria), Abdoulaye Traoré (Ivory Coast), Roger Milla (Cameroon) and Gamal Abdelhamid (Egypt) each scored two goals in 1988.

Hossam Hassan (Egypt) and Benni McCarthy (South Africa) both scored seven goals in 1998.

Patrick M’Boma (Cameroon), Salomon Olembé (Cameroon) and Julius Aghahowa (Nigeria) each scored three goals in 2002.

Patrick M’Boma (Cameroon), Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Frédéric Kanouté (Mali) and Francileudo Santos (Tunisia) each scored four goals in 2004.

Manucho (Angola), Houssine Kharja (Morocco), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), Christopher Katongo (Zambia), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Emmanuel Mayuka (Zambia) and Cheick Diabaté (Mali) all scored three goals in 2012.

Emmanuel Emenike (Nigeria) and Mubarak Wakaso (Ghana) both scored four goals in 2013.

Thievy Bifouma (Congo), André Ayew (Ghana), Dieumerci Mbokani (DR Congo), Ahmed Akaïchi (Tunisia) and Javier Balboa (Equatorial Guinea) all scored three goals in 2023.

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