• Camara joined Metz in February last year and made a name for himself in October by scoring a goal from inside his half against Monaco in Ligue 1.
• Owono won the man of the match award in both Equatorial Guinea’s opening draw with Nigeria and sensational 4-0 win over Cote d’Ivoire.
Clubs across Europe will have been keeping an eye on the top performers at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), where the underdogs have consistently impressed.
A host of players have produced scout-pleasing performances at a tournament full of surprises and entertainment in Cote d’Ivoire.
As the knockout stage continues, BBC Sport Africa has picked out six stars who could be snapped up by top European clubs.
Four of them are yet to play in one of the top five leagues on the continent. And, with three aged 22 or under and the transfer window set to close on Thursday, it may not be long before their suitors begin to bid.
Lamine Camara (Metz & Senegal, midfielder)
Named the continent’s Young Footballer of the Year in December, 20-year-old Camara announced himself on the senior stage with two goals and a man-of-the-match performance for the defending champions in their opening 3-0 win against The Gambia.
It was not the first time Camara had scored twice in one game at an international tournament.
He struck twice when the West Africans won by the same scoreline against Tunisia on their way to winning the Under-20 Afcon in 2023, while he also triumphed at the African Nations Championship last year.
The box-to-box midfielder — a product of the Senegalese Generation Foot academy, whose alumni include Sadio Mane — was successful with 84 per cent of his passes before the Teranga Lions were knocked out of the tournament by Cote d’Ivoire in the last 16.
Camara joined Metz in February last year and made a name for himself in October by scoring a goal from inside his half against Monaco in Ligue 1.
Jesus Owono (Alaves & Equatorial Guinea, goalkeeper)
Owono won the man of the match award in both Equatorial Guinea’s opening draw with Nigeria and sensational 4-0 win over Cote d’Ivoire.
The 2.7 goals he had prevented was by far the highest of any player at the tournament at the time of the National Thunder’s last-16 exit, with no other goalkeeper achieving a tally of two or more by that point.
Owono kept three clean sheets in four appearances at the 2021 finals and saved two penalties in a shootout win over Mali to play a heroic role in his country reaching the quarter-finals.
However, the 22-year-old has not featured in La Liga for club side Alaves since making his debut in February 2022, warming the bench in the Spanish top flight while making seven Copa del Rey starts across the past two seasons.
Owono could become Africa’s next big goalkeeping star — walking in the footsteps of legends such as Cameroon’s Carlos Kameni and Thomas N’Kono and Nigeria’s Vincent Enyeama.
Emam Ashour (Al Ahly & Egypt, midfielder)
Ashour was outstanding in providing defensive support and bursting forward to boost Egypt’s attack during their action-packed Group B campaign.
But a concussion prevented the man who has been likened to the Pharaohs legend Ahmed Hassan from taking part in their surprise defeat by DR Congo in the last 16.
Despite playing substantially fewer minutes than many of his teammates, Ashour still finished near the top of the standings among the squad in terms of chances created, passes, tackles won and ball carries, while only top scorer Mostafa Mohamed bettered his four attempts on target.
The 25-year-old had a brief spell with three-time Danish champions Midtjylland in 2023, scoring on his Europa League and Superliga debuts after making a reported €2.6m ($2.8m) move from Egyptian side Zamalek.
He returned to the top flight in his homeland with Al Ahly last July - but could another European giant tempt him away from the reigning Egyptian champions?
Aboubakary Koita (Sint-Truiden & Mauritania, forward)
The man who drove Mauritania’s dream run at the finals was Koita.
The 25-year-old’s bursts of speed, explosive wing play and eye for goal helped the Lions of Chinguetti reach the last 16, securing their progress with a sensational first ever win at the tournament when they beat 2019 Afcon champions Algeria 1-0.
Koita’s rocket of a long-range strike in their entertaining 3-2 defeat by Angola during the group stage will be among the goals of the tournament, and he also should have scored against Algeria after a brilliant solo run.
Born in Senegal, Koita is a regular for top-tier side Sint-Truiden in Belgium — the country where he spent his youth career, later having two years at former champions Gent.
Gelson Dala (Al Wakrah & Angola, forward)
Dala has netted four times to help Angola make the quarter-finals for the first time since 2010, putting him one goal behind leading marksman Emilio Nsue.
After two goals against Mauritania in the group stage, the 27-year-old hit another double and set up a goal in the 3-0 win over Namibia in the last 16.
Dala’s expected goals total of 1.31 is less than half of Nsue’s, with the Palancas Negras frontman having eight shots in total and getting six of them on target.
Only Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi and Egypt’s Mohamed Hany (both on nine) had set up more than the eight chances Dala had provided after his side’s fourth match at the 2023 Afcon finals.
Dala’s scoring feats in Angola as a youngster caused Portuguese giants Sporting CP to sign him in 2017, but he could not break into their first team and spent a season at Rio Ave in 2020-21. Since joining Qatari club Al Wakrah in 2022 he has averaged more than a goal a game.
Aguibou Camara (Atromitos & Guinea, forward)
Camara’s alert finish as part of a man-of-the-match display gave Guinea a vital victory over The Gambia, and the 22-year-old has featured in every minute of their run to the quarter-finals.
A youth player at Lille, he has gained Champions League qualifying and Europa League experience since joining Olympiacos in 2021 and is currently on loan to fellow Greek Super League side Atromitos.
The versatile attacker, who can also play in midfield, has already been deployed in a variety of positions by Guinea during their campaign and spoke of his readiness to switch to the wings after he was asked to by Syli National manager Kaba Diawara during the group stage.