Equatorial Guinea’s captain, Emilio Nsue, emerged as the top scorer of the 2023 AFCON despite their exit in the round of 16, which concluded on Sunday in Côte d’Ivoire.
The versatile player clinched the PUMA Golden Boot award, surpassing initial expectations that favoured players like Victor Osimhen, Mohammed Salah, and Sadio Mane.
Nsue started the campaign strongly, netting the tournament’s first and only hat trick against Guinea Bissau in the second round of matches.
He also managed to score a brace against the hosts, Côte d’Ivoire, in Equatorial Guinea’s 4-0 victory in the last round of group games.
Nsue’s unexpected goal-scoring prowess surprised many at AFCON 2023, considering he primarily plays as a right-back and winger for Intercity, a club in the Spanish third division.
His football journey includes stints at Middlesbrough, Birmingham City, and Mallorca, with a pivotal role in Middlesbrough’s promotion to the Premier League in 2016.
At 34 years old, Nsue holds the distinction of being the oldest player to score a hat-trick in AFCON history since Soufiane Alloudi in 2008.
Nsue now joins an elite list of goal scorers, including Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, Vincent Aboubakar, and Odion Ighalo, to win the AFCON top scorer award.
Meanwhile, Ivory Coast emerged champions after defeating Nigeria 2-1. Nigeria’s captain, William Ekong, was awarded the Man of the Competition, South Africa’s captain Ronwen Williams won the Best Goalkeeper award, and Simon Adingra was named the Best Young Player of the tournament.