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AFCON 2023 tournament gets underway in Ivory Coast



African Cup of Nations (AFCON)

The African Cup of Nations (AFCON) has gotten underway in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast on Saturday, January 13, 2024, with the kick-off between Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau at 21:00hrs.

AFCON 2023 is the 34th edition of the biennial African association football tournament organised by Confederation of African Football (CAF).

It will be hosted by Ivory Coast for the second time and the first since 1984 with Senegal as the defending champions.

The tournament will take place from 13 January to 11 February 2024, featuring 24 nations competing for the trophy.

The opening match will feature the hosts, nicknamed the Elephants, against one of the Group A opponents they are drawn against.

The final will also take place at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan.

Some of the biggest stars in football, such as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Wilfried Zaha, will be hoping to lead their teams to glory.

According to findings, the favorites to win AFCON 2023 are:

  • Senegal (12.8% chance), the defending champions, led by star forward Sadio Mane.
  • Ivory Coast (12.1% chance), the hosts, who have won the trophy twice before and have home advantage.
  • Morocco (11.1% chance), the surprise semifinalists of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, who are seeking their second AFCON title.

Other strong contenders include Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, and Cameroon, who have all won the tournament multiple times in the past.

Some of the dark horses that could cause an upset are Ghana, Mali, Congo DR, and South Africa, who have also reached the final stages of the competition before.

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The AFCON 2023 promises to be an exciting and unpredictable event, showcasing some of the best talents in African football.

There are many players to watch in AFCON 2023, as the tournament showcases some of the best talents in African football.

Some of the players that are expected to shine are:

  • Mohamed Salah (Egypt and Liverpool): The 2023 African Player of the Year and the leading scorer in the Premier League, Salah is the star of the Pharaohs and one of the best players in the world. He will be hoping to lead Egypt to their eighth AFCON title.
  • Sadio Mane (Senegal and Al-Nassr): The captain and the linchpin of the Lions of Teranga, Mane is a prolific and versatile forward who can score and create goals.
    He helped Senegal win their first AFCON title in 2021 and will be aiming to defend their crown.
  • Victor Osimhen (Nigeria and Napoli): The 2023 CAF Men’s Best Player award winner and the top scorer in Serie A last season, Osimhen is a lethal striker who can terrorize any defense with his pace, power, and finishing.
    He will be instrumental to Nigeria’s chances of lifting the trophy for the fourth time.
  • Achraf Hakimi (Morocco and Paris Saint-Germain): The best right-back in Africa and one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe, Hakimi is a dynamic and versatile player who can contribute in both attack and defense.
    He helped Morocco reach the semi-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and will be looking to add an AFCON title to his resume.
  • Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast and Crystal Palace): The talisman and the leader of the Elephants, Zaha is a skillful and explosive winger who can create magic with the ball.
    He will be playing in front of his home fans, as Ivory Coast hosts the tournament for the second time and the first since 1984.
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These are just some of the players to watch in AFCON 2023, but there are many more who could surprise and impress with their performances.

The prize money for AFCON 2023 has been increased by 40% by the Confederation of African Football.

The winner of the tournament will receive $7 million, the runner-up will get $4 million, the losing semi-finalists will each earn $2.5 million, and the losing quarter-finalists will each receive $1.3 million.

The prize money is not only a reward for the teams, but also an investment in the future of African football, as CAF aims to improve the infrastructure, development, and administration of the sport across the continent.

AFCON 2023 is expected to be a thrilling and competitive event, with some of the best talents in African football vying for the trophy and the glory.

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