Author: N.J HoveAmidst the resounding cheers and the beats of African drums, the 34th edition of the AFCON tournament has taken centre stage in the vibrant nation of Cote d'Ivoire. Originally slated for 2023, the tournament was pivoted to 2024, a decision prompted by the West African weather, allowing for meticulous preparations to fulfil CAF President Dr. Patrice Motsepe's promise of the best AFCON tournament to date. With domestic football momentarily on pause, the momentum of Africa's beloved game reached a crescendo on the 11th of January 2024, heralding what is already shaping up to be an unforgettable AFCON spectacle. One for the history books!Teams from across the continent, filled with top talents, battling for glory. Thirteen past champions qualified for this edition of the tournament, and this added to the excitement of guaranteed epic matches that carry the weight of football history. The opening ceremony, a celebration of diverse African cultures, set the stage for a unique experience.

As the first goal was scored, Ivorian Sekou Fofana with a cracker from a distance, the tournament came alive and it became clear what the tournament had in store for football fans. Group stage matches have been thrilling, filled with nail-biting encounters, marked by twists and unexpected outcomes that have kept football fans on the edge of their seats.However, the current narrative defies predictability, with the recent exits of Egypt and Cameroon, the two most successful nations in AFCON history.

Another interesting dynamic- recent history adds to the tale of unpredictability, as the last five champions failed to progress past the knockout stage in the subsequent tournament. With only eight countries remaining, the AFCON journey is hurtling towards a climax, teasing fans with the promise of more twists and turns. The stage is set for dramatic moments that will define this AFCON edition.
Group A: 
Ivory Coast
Equatorial Guinea
Group B:
Cape Verde
Group C:
Group D:
Burkina Faso
Group E:
South Africa
Group F:
DR Congo
Matchday 1 of 3 (January 13 to January 17, 2024):
January 13, 2024: Ivory Coast 2-0 Guinea Bissau
January 14, 2024: Nigeria 1-1 Equatorial Guinea
January 15, 2024: Senegal 3-0 Gambia, Cameroon 1-1 Guinea
January 16, 2024: Algeria 1-1 Angola
January 17, 2024: Morocco 3-0 Tanzania, DR Congo 1-1 Zambia
Matchday 2 of 3 (January 18 to January 21, 2024):
January 18, 2024: Equatorial Guinea 4-2 Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria
January 18, 2024: Egypt 2-2 Ghana
January 19, 2024: Cape Verde 3-0 Mozambique
January 20, 2024: Algeria 2-0 Burkina Faso, Mauritania 2-3 Angola
January 21, 2024: South Africa 4-0 Namibia
January 21, 2024: Morocco 1-1 DR Congo, Zambia 1-1 Tanzania
Matchday 3 of 3 (January 22 to January 24, 2024):
January 22, 2024: Guinea-Bissau 0-1 Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea 4-0 Ivory Coast
January 22, 2024: Cape Verde 2-2 Egypt, Mozambique 2-2 Ghana
January 23, 2024: Senegal 2-0 Guinea, Gambia 2-3 Cameroon
January 23, 2024: Angola 2-0 Burkina Faso, Mauritania 1-0 Algeria
January 24, 2024: Tunisia 0-0 South Africa, Mali 0-0 Namibia
January 24, 2024: Zambia 0-1 Morocco, Tanzania 0-0 DR Congo
Round of 16 Results:
January 27, 2024:
● Angola 3-0 Namibia
● Nigeria 2-0 Cameroon

January 28, 2024:
● Equatorial Guinea 0-1 Guinea
● Egypt 1 (7)-1 (8) DR Congo (After Penalty Shootout)

January 29, 2024:
● Cape Verde 1-0 Mauritania
● Ivory Coast 1 (5)- 1 (4) (After Penalty Shootout)

January 30, 2024:
● Mali 2-1 Burkina Faso
● Morocco 0-2 South Africa
Road to the final

Friday, 2 February:
● Nigeria vs Angola
● DR Congo vs Guinea

Saturday, 3 February:
● Mali vs Ivory Coast
● Cape Verde vs South Africa
Wednesday, 7 February:
SF1: TBD vs TBD (Bouake, 17:00)
SF2: TBD vs TBD (Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan, 20:00)

Third Place Play-off:
Saturday, 10 February:
TBD vs TBD (Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan, 20:00)
Sunday, 11 February:
TBD vs TBD (Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan, 20:00)
The Venues
Alassane Ouattara Stadium
City: Abidjan
Capacity: 60,000
Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium
City: Abidjan
Capacity: 33,000
Stade de la Paix
City: Bouake
Capacity: 40,000
Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium
City: Korhogo
Capacity: 20,000
Laurent Pokou Stadium
City: San Pedro
Capacity: 20,000
Charles Konan Banny Stadium
City: Yamoussoukro
Capacity: 20,000
Discover Ivory Coast: Host Nation of AFCON 2023
The vibrant and culturally rich nation of Ivory Coast will proudly host the upcoming AFCON 2023. Nestled in West Africa, Ivory Coast, also known as Côte d'Ivoire, is a country brimming with diverse cultural experiences, warm hospitality, and a wealth of natural wonders. As football enthusiasts gather for the tournament, we take a look at what makes Ivory Coast a fascinating destination beyond the football pitch.
The People
Ivory Coast is home to over 60 ethnic groups, each contributing to the country's unique cultural mosaic. The Ivorian people are renowned for their warm and welcoming nature, embracing visitors with open arms. Hospitality is a cornerstone of their culture, ensuring that guests leave with not only memories of the AFCON but also a profound appreciation for the people of Ivory Coast.
Culture and Traditions
Shaped by a history that includes French influences and a blend of customs and beliefs, Ivory Coast's culture is a testament to its resilience and unity. From the pulsating rhythms of the Djembe drum to the traditional dances like Zaouli and Goli, the Ivorian people take great pride in showcasing their rich musical and dance heritage. The country's traditional art, including wooden sculptures and masks, reflects a deep connection to spirituality and ancestral traditions. The vibrant cultural calendar of Ivory Coast is marked by festivals that showcase the joyous spirit of the Ivorian people. The Abissa festival, celebrated by the Nzima people, and the Fêtes des Masques, celebrated by the Dan people, are just a glimpse into the colourful celebrations that define life in Ivory Coast. These events offer visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the local traditions and festivities.
Ivory Coast's cuisine is a flavorful fusion of local ingredients, reflecting the country's diverse culinary traditions. From the popular dish attiéké made from cassava to the deliciously slow-cooked stew kedjenou, visitors can embark on a culinary journey that tantalises the taste buds. The thriving street food scene offers a chance to savour grilled meat skewers, fried plantains, and more, all infused with local spices and sauces.

The vibrant cultural calendar of Ivory Coast is marked by festivals that showcase the joyous spirit of the Ivorian people. The Abissa festival, celebrated by the Nzima people, and the Fêtes des Masques, celebrated by the Dan people, are just a glimpse into the colourful celebrations that define life in Ivory Coast. These events offer visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the local traditions and festivities.
Beyond the bustling cities like Abidjan, Ivory Coast boasts stunning natural landscapes. Tai National Park and Comoe National Park provide a sanctuary for diverse flora and fauna, inviting visitors to explore through guided tours and outdoor activities. Pristine beaches like Grand-Bassam and Assinie-Mafia offer a perfect blend of relaxation and water sports along the picturesque coastline. As you traverse Ivory Coast, don't miss the chance to witness iconic landmarks such as the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro. This architectural marvel stands as a testament to the country's religious heritage and is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
A for AFCON 23: The 2023 AFCON will be the 34th edition of the tournament since its founding in 1957.

B for Botswana: Botswana qualified for the AFCON tournament only once in their history, and it was in 2012.

C for Côte d’Ivoire: Cote d’Ivoire has appeared in four AFCON Finals (1992, 2006, 2012, and 2015) without scoring a single goal in 480 minutes of play. They won on penalties in 1992 and 2015 and lost on penalties in 2006 and 2012, with all four games ending 0-0.

D for DR Congo: DR Congo, formerly known as Zaire, has clinched the AFCON title twice. Their last triumph came in 1974 when the country was still officially referred to as Zaire.

E for Egypt: Egypt holds the record for the most AFCON titles, having won it seven times, twice consecutively in 1957 and 1959, in 1998, and a record three times in a row in 2006, 2008, and 2010.

F for France: France boasts five different coaches who have won six AFCON tournaments, the most of any country.

G for Ghana: Ghana's Charles Gyamfi won the title three times as a coach (1963–1965, 1982).

H for Herve Renard: Herve Renard is the only coach to have won the AFCON with two different countries - Zambia in 2012 and Cote D’Ivoire in 2015.

I for Ivory Coast: Ivory Coast is hosting the Africa Cup of Nations for the second time, having first hosted the tournament in 1984. Jay Jay Okocha was named the Best Player of the Tournament at the 2004 African Cup of Nations.

J for Jay Jay Okocha: Jay Jay Okocha was named the Best Player of the Tournament at the 2004 African Cup of Nations.

K for Keshi: Stephen Keshi of Nigeria (1994 as a player, 2013 as a coach) won the AFCON as both a player and coach.

L for Laurent Pokou: Laurent Pokou of Cote d'Ivoire scored a quintuplé in one game, becoming the player with the most goals in a single AFCON game when Cote d'Ivoire thrashed Ethiopia 6-1 in 1970.

M for Mulamba: Mulamba Ndaye scored 9 goals for DR Congo at the 1974 AFCON, the most by any player in a single tournament.

N for Nil Nil: Only once, in 2013, has the opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations ended 0-0 when South Africa played out a draw against Cape Verde.

O for Only: Only Egypt has played more games (107) and won more matches (60) at the AFCON than any other team.

P for Patrick Mboma: Patrick Mboma won the AFCON Golden Boot twice in 2002 and 2004, both times as a joint winner.

Q for Quickest Afcon Goal: Egypt's Ayman Mansour holds the record for the quickest AFCON goal, scoring after 23 seconds in Egypt's 4-0 win over Gabon in 1994.

R for Roger Lemmere: Roger Lemmere became the first coach to win both AFCON (2004) and the UEFA European Championship (2000) when he led Tunisia to the title.

S for Samuel Eto'o: Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o is the leading overall Cup of Nations scorer, with 18 goals in six tournaments between 2000 and 2010.

T for Tunisia: Tunisia has qualified for their 16th successive AFCON tournament, a streak that started in 1994, marking a record of 16 successive qualifications.

U for Unbeaten Run: Egypt holds the record for the longest unbeaten run in the tournament, going 24 games unbeaten between 2004-2017, including nine consecutive wins.

V for Veteran: Egypt’s El Hadary is the oldest player to feature at the tournament. In his last match he was 44 years and 21 days.

W for Winners: In the 33 times the competition has been held, 14 different countries have been winners.

X for Extraordinary: Egypt is the most successful team in the tournament's history.

Y for Youngest Scorer: Shiva Nzingou holds the record for the youngest player to score a goal at AFCON after scoring for Gabon in a 3-1 defeat to South Africa in 2000 at the age of 16 years and 93 days.

Z for Zambia: Zambia is the only team not from neither West or North Africa to have won the title in the last two decades.