AFCON 2023 diaspora stars

Edwin  - CEO January 4, 2024
Updated 2024/01/04 at 10:51 PM
4 Min Read
Seattle Sounders defender Nouhou silences Egypt's Mo Salah in AFCON 2021. He will be on parade again for Cameroon in the Cote D'Ivoire 2023 edition of the championship
Seattle Sounders defender Nouhou silences Egypt's Mo Salah in AFCON 2021. He will be on parade again for Cameroon in the Cote D'Ivoire 2023 edition of the championship

Every MLS player at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations


Carlos Akapo hocked his trade in Spain for La Liga side Cádiz before he arrived in the MLS. He’s one of the diaspora stars of Africa expected to shine in Cote D’Ivoire during the 2023 AFCON tournament


According to Major League Soccer, when the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations begins on Jan. 13 in the Ivory Coast, three MLS players want to be crowned African champions by the Feb. 11 final.


The biennial tournament begins with 24 countries split into six groups, followed by a single-elimination knockout phase. Some of the sport’s biggest stars are in attendance, including Victor Osimhen (Nigeria), Mo Salah (Egypt), Sadio Mane (Senegal), and Achraf Hakimi (Morocco).


Initially slated for the summer of 2023, the tournament was moved to early 2024 due to extreme weather conditions in the Ivory Coast.


Carlos Akapo

Defender · San Jose Earthquakes
  • Team: Equatorial Guinea
  • Group: A
  • Schedule: Jan. 14 vs. Nigeria, Jan. 18 vs. Guinea-Bissau, Jan. 22 vs. Ivory Coast


Akapo is coming off a strong 2023 season for the San Jose Earthquakes, making 28 regular-season appearances (25 starts) while contributing two goals and four assists. The right-back originally joined the club in August 2022 after competing in Spain for La Liga side Cádiz.


Akapo has been capped 30 times by Equatorial Guinea since his 2013 debut. The 30-year-old scored one international goal in a September 2016 AFCON qualifier against South Sudan.

Steven Moreira

Defender · Columbus Crew
  • Team: Cape Verde
  • Group: B
  • Schedule: Jan. 14 vs. Ghana, Jan. 19 vs. Mozambique, Jan. 22 vs. Egypt


Moreira was crucial during the Columbus Crew’s 2023 MLS Cup title run and will chase a similar feat at AFCON with Cape Verde. The former France youth international will contend with a challenging Group B, which includes two perennially strong opponents in Ghana and Egypt.


Moreira received his first Cape Verde call-up in October 2023, debuting in a friendly defeat to Algeria. The 29-year-old is a dynamic threat for Columbus from his now-hybrid center-back role, tallying 1g/16a in 73 games since joining from the Ligue 1 side of Toulouse.


Defender · Seattle Sounders FC
  • Team: Cameroon
  • Group: C
  • Schedule: Jan. 15 vs. Guinea, Jan. 19 vs. Senegal, Jan. 23 vs. Gambia


A longtime fan-favorite at Seattle Sounders FC, Nouhou is a regular for Cameroon and memorably drew headlines during the 2021 AFCON semifinals. That’s when the left back went toe-to-toe with Salah, helping keep the Liverpool star off the scoresheet during a 0-0 draw that eventually saw Cameroon fall in penalty kicks.


Nouhou, 26, started all three matches for Cameroon at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, including a history-making 1-0 victory over Brazil. Throughout his MLS career, Nouhou has 1g/8a in 168 regular-season appearances, winning the MLS Cup (2019) and Concacaf Champions Cup (2022) titles.


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