AFCON: Nations Cup enters knockout rounds with mouthwatering fixtures

The group stage of the TotalEnergies African Cup of Nations Cote d'Ivoire 2023, concluded on Wednesday night, setting up some highly anticipated knock-out stage clashes.

The group stage produced everything expected of the grit the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON is made of: stellar shocks, goals, records, history and passionate fans turning up at match venues.

In the marquee match of the round, defending champions Senegal will take on tournament hosts Cote d’Ivoire. The Elephants had suffered a shock 4-0 thrashing by Equatorial Guinea in their final group game but still advanced courtesy of the best losers channel.

However, they now face the daunting task of overcoming an in-form Senegalese side on a 100% record this term with a charge for defending their title.

Another two African heavyweights will collide when Nigeria meets Cameroon in what promises to be a historic encounter. Elsewhere, Morocco topped their group without conceding and will look to continue their fine form against South Africa, yet another good side in the continent.

Find below some of the interesting fixtures to look out for:
Road to Alassane Ouattara Stadium – AFCON Final

Nigeria v Cameroon 

Despite a shaky start, the two giants managed their qualification to the round of 16 after their final round of matches.

Nigeria are hoping to end a decade of no AFCON trophy. While, Rigobert Song is under pressure to give Cameroonians a better performance in the knockout stage after struggling in the group stage, where they won just a game. 

Cape Verde v Mauritania 

After a shocking run in the group stage, which saw Cape Verde going unbeaten and leading a group involving two previous AFCON champions, Egypt and Ghana, the Blue Sharks will have Mauritania to deal with in the round of 16.

The Mauritanian’s celebrating their qualification to the last 16

Mauritania’s head coach, Amir Abdou has already exceeded expectations by getting this far with Mauritania. They can however, write more history as they face Cape Verde.

Equatorial Guinea v Guinea 

Equatorial Guinea shockingly managed to top a group involving hosts Côte D’Ivoire and Nigeria. They are set to face a Guinean side who haven’t been consistent with results in this year’s competiton.

The Syli Nationals will have the competition’s top scorer, Emilio Nsue to deal with in this fixture.

Angola v Namibia 

Namibia made history by qualifying to the knockout stage of the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON for the first time in their history since debuting in 1998. They will face Angola who topped a group involving Burkina Faso and Mauritania with 7 points.

Angola jpeg
An impressive Angolian side going unbeaten in the group stage

Angola will want more based on their record in the competition’s history; two times as quarter finalists.

Mali v Burkina Faso 

Burkina Faso brought their group-stage games to a disappointing end after losing 2-0 to Angola. Mali went unbeaten in all their group-stage games and will have the advantage when playing at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Kohorgo.

Egypt vs D.R Congo 

Egypt qualified after drawing all group games, it was obviously not a good one for the Pharaohs as the most successful country in the history of the competition. Their presence in the knockout stage is a threat to any team they face and D.R Congo is no exception.

 Senegal vs Côte d’lvoire 

Following their disappointing 4-0 defeat on the final day, host Côte d’Ivoire only progressed after Zambia lost to Morocco in their final group F game. They have been handed a tough test against defending champions, Senegal.

Senagales jpegs
The Teranga Lions maintain a 100% record win in their group stage

Senegal have a 100% record in the tournament and the fixture is a tough one for the host.

Morocco vs South Africa 

The 2022 FIFA World Cup semifinalists are on track to win the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON Côte d’lvoire 2023. On their way to achieving the feat, they will face South Africa in the Round of 16.

Morocco jpp
Roman Saïss of Morocco

The South Africa attack with Percy Tau and Themba Zwane will give the Moroccans lot of problems to deal with.

NB: All games are set to be played between 27 and 30 January, 18:00 & 21:00 (WAT) respectfully.

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