AFCON 2023 Preview
The 2023 African Cup of Nations is here with us. The tournament had originally been scheduled to begin in June 2023. But it was rearranged due to fears that the weather during the rainy season in host nation Ivory Coast may cause disruptions.
The draw for the highly anticipated showpiece was made in October with the 24 teams divided into six groups of four for the tournament, which will be held in Côte d’Ivoire in January.
With Senegal being the defending Champions, this is how the groupings went.
Hosts Ivory Coast were joined in Group A by Nigeria in the draw for the Africa Cup of Nations in Abidjan on Thursday. Fast-improving Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, who have qualified for a fourth straight edition, complete the mini-league.
Other heavyweight pairings included defending champions Senegal with five-time winners Cameroon, while Africa’s first World Cup semi-finalists Morocco faced Democratic Republic of Congo.
Nigeria were last crowned Cup of Nations winners in 2013 in South Africa and the Ivory Coast succeeded them two years later in Equatorial Guinea.
Defending champions Senegal are in Group C with five-time winners Cameroon, Guinea and the Gambia.
South Africa will face Tunisia, Mali and Namibia in Group E while Ghana take on Egypt, Cape Verde and Mozambique in Group B. Meanwhile, Group D, comprising Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Angola, completes the line-up for a tournament that will reach a climax with the final on February 11.
A: Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau
B: Egypt, Ghana, Cape Verde and Mozambique
C: Senegal, Cameroon, Guinea and The Gambia
D: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Angola
E: Tunisia, Mali, South Africa and Namibia
F: Morocco, DR Congo, Zambia and Tanzania
After the draw, CAF went ahead to release the fixtures for the event. The 34th edition of the biggest sports event on African soil will take place from 13 January to 24 February 2024 in Abidjan, Yamoussoukro, Bouake, San Pedro, and Korhogo.
The opening game will feature hosts Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau on Saturday 13 January 2024 at Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe, in Abidjan.
Check out full fixtures Here
POKOU: Official Match Ball
CAF and PUMA have unveiled “POKOU” – the official match ball for the Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023.
The Official match ball, POKOU, is named after Ivorian legendary forward Laurent Pokou, a doyen of African football whose five goals in the 6-1 victory over Ethiopia at the 1970 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations remains a record during the Final competition.
Erwan, a son of the late Pokou, presented the iconic and beautifully designed match ball to the audience during the Final Draw. The official ball features the three main colours of the Cote d’Ivoire flag – white, orange and green, whilst incorporating the latest technology that will revolutionize the game on the continent and beyond.
Nicknamed L’homme d’Asmara, Pokou is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of Ivorian football. It is in recognition of his contribution to football in the West African country, that one of the match venues for the Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 in San Pedro is christened Laurent Pokou Stadium.
He made his debut against Ghana in a friendly in 1967, going on to become top scorer in the 1968 and 1970 Africa Cup of Nations. His 14 goals in the Africa Cup of Nations was for a long time a tournament record till 2008, when Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon eclipsed that feat. A legendary Ivorian of giants, ASEC Mimosas, Pokou also had stints with French sides, Stade Rennes and Nancy. He passed away on 13 November 2016 aged 69.
Hi!! I’m Benson, a Nigerian based writer, researcher and football analyst with more than 3 years of experience. My work is brought to you by my passion for sports.