VINCENT ABOUBAKAR (Cameroon)
A Cameroon team demoralised after a woeful 2014 World Cup campaign needed a consistent scorer to replace retired captain Samuel Eto’o and striker Aboubakar answered the call by scoring four goals, including a brace in the 4-1 Yaounde rout of Ivory Coast.
YACINE BRAHIMI (Algeria)
Brahimi is the rising star of an Algerian team that used to rely heavily on fellow midfielder Sofiane Feghouli for creativity. His three goals included a masterclass in timing, positioning and execution that wrapped up a 3-1 Blida victory over Ethiopia.
SENZO MEYIWA (South Africa)
Inspirational captain and goalkeeper Meyiwa kept four consecutive clean sheets to play a crucial role in the qualification of South Africa for the first time since 2008 before he was shot dead by armed robbers while visiting his pop singer girlfriend.
JONATHAN PITROIPA (Burkina Faso)
For a striker to score six qualifying goals is praiseworthy, but the diminutive Burkinabe who was voted the best player of the 2013 Cup of Nations achieved the feat operating as a wide midfielder. His haul included a brace in Angola.
SEYDOUBA SOUMAH (Guinea)
Ebola-ravaged Guinea needed a special performance to resuscitate a floundering campaign and Slovakia-based striker Soumah scored a 26-minute hat-trick against Togo in Lome to earn a shock 4-1 triumph and set up qualification for the finals.