Here are some interesting things you need to know about AFCON 2023. In a highly anticipated spectacle, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is gearing up to unleash the thrilling African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023, set to commence on January 13 in Ivory Coast. As football fever grips the continent, here’s your ultimate guide to everything you need to know about this prestigious tournament.
Tournament Format and Venues
The AFCON 2023 will unfold its drama across six stadiums in five vibrant cities of Ivory Coast. Abidjan, the capital, will host matches at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium and the Alassane Ouattara Stadium, the latter also being the stage for the final showdown. Other cities in the spotlight include Yamoussoukro, Bouake, Korhogo, and San Pedro.
Qualified Teams and Group Stage Fixtures
A total of 24 teams are set to battle for supremacy in six groups. The groupings are as follows:
- Group A: Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau
- Group B: Egypt, Ghana, Cape Verde, Mozambique
- Group C: Senegal, Cameroon, Guinea, The Gambia
- Group D: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Angola
- Group E: Tunisia, Mali, South Africa, Namibia
- Group F: Morocco, DR Congo, Zambia, Tanzania
The opening match on January 13 will see Ivory Coast face Guinea-Bissau at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan, kicking off at 20:00 GMT. The subsequent days will witness a minimum of two games per day during the group stage.
Group Stage and Knockout Details
The top two teams from each group, along with the four best-ranked third-placed teams, will advance to the last 16. The knockout stage, starting after a three-day break from January 24, promises intense clashes:
- Group winners vs. third place from Group B/E/F
- Group A runners-up vs. Group C runners-up
- Group A winners vs. third place from Group C/D/E
- Group B runners-up vs. Group F runners-up
- Group B winners vs. third place from Group A/C/D
- Group C winners vs. third place from Group A/B/F
- Group E winners vs. Group D runners-up
- Group F winners vs. Group E runners-up
Past Winners and Favourites
Egypt leads AFCON history with seven titles, followed closely by Cameroon with five wins. Morocco, the highest-ranked team in the tournament, is the favourite after reaching the World Cup semifinals. Reigning champions Senegal and Egypt are expected to challenge, while Nigeria boasts a squad with remarkable depth.
AFCON 2023: Prize Money Increase
In a lucrative development, the prize money for the 2023 AFCON winners will see a substantial 40% increase. The champions in Ivory Coast will take home £5.5 million ($7 million), with the runners-up receiving £3.165 million ($4 million). Semifinalists and quarterfinalists will also enjoy significant cash rewards, adding extra motivation to the quest for glory in this football extravaganza.