Anticipation for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is beginning to rise as the line-up of teams heading to Ivory Coast for the finals was confirmed on September 23rd. The 34th edition of AFCON is scheduled to take place from January 13 to February 11, 2024, marking the second time Ivory Coast will host the prestigious tournament, with the first being in 1984. Originally slated for June-July 2023, the event was rescheduled to avoid the rainy season yet retained 2023 in its official title.
The tournament will showcase a constellation of African football stars from various premier leagues around the globe. Notable players like Senegal and Al-Nassr striker Sadio Mane, Cameroon and Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana, Ivory Coast and Galatasaray forward Wilfried Zaha, and Egypt and Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah are all set to dazzle the football arena.
Defending champions Senegal, led by Sadio Mane, and Egypt, the most successful team in AFCON history with seven titles captained by Mohamed Salah, are among the top contenders. The opening match will feature the host nation, nicknamed the Elephants, against one of the Group A opponents they are drawn against.
The draw for the tournament is set to take place in Abidjan on October 12, 2023, at 3 p.m. EST. Based on the latest FIFA world rankings, the 24 teams have been allocated to four pots, with Ivory Coast, despite being the ninth-best nation in Africa, included in pot one due to their host status.
The competition will unfold in six stadiums across five cities, with the final match scheduled at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan, which has a capacity of 60,000. The tournament is not just a celebration of football but also a significant event affecting players and clubs in the Premier League and other leagues worldwide, as key players will be away, representing their nations.
This edition of AFCON is a testament to the rich football heritage of Africa and a platform for showcasing the continent’s talent on the global stage. As the teams prepare for a month of intense competition, the eyes of the football world will be fixed on Ivory Coast, where new legends will rise, and national pride will be at stake.