Usually, at this point of the year, the Africa Cup of Nations, or AFCON, as it’s often abbreviated, is underway. And it’s an event that is designed to find out who rules the roost in the African footballing region. The defending champions are Senegal, but just when will the action in the 2023’s Africa Cup of Nations get underway?
Well, in most instances, the clue is usually in the title, but this time it’s not. You see, the Africa Cup of Nations 2023 will not actually take place in 2023; instead, the tournament will get underway in January 2024. In total, nine countries bid to host the event, with Guinea, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Tunisia the ones who ended up in the running until it was determined that Ivory Coast would play host to their second AFCON tournament, which will likely see them installed as one of the favourites to win at all the main football betting markets at all competitive bookmakers, regarding this event.
For anyone wondering why there is no Africa Cup of Nations in 2023 and why the action was put back a year, the first thought was that it was due to the World Cup in Qatar at the back end of 2022. It makes a lot of sense that this was taken into consideration because of the involvement of African nations in the tournament. And another reason why AFCON 2023 will actually be AFCON 2024 is the weather conditions in Ivory Coast. Concerns were raised around this by the Confederation of African Football.
At present, only one team has been officially declared as playing at the 2023 instalment of the Africa Cup of Nations, and that is, of course, Ivory Coast because they’re the host nation. But, as most people will imagine, the better teams from the African region are expected to qualify and play, especially Senegal, who will enter the tournament as the defending champions and, like Ivory Coast, should start as one of the favourites to lift the trophy in February 2024.
In total, there will be six groups containing four teams each in the Group Stage of the competition. And it will be the top two from each group that will progress to the knockout stage. Alongside the teams that finish first and second in their respective groups making it through, so will four of the six who finish in third. So all isn’t immediately lost for nations that don’t make it through to the next round automatically via their group.
Ivory Coast, as the host nation, is automatically entered into Group A of the competition. They have the advantage of playing on home soil, and the country has gone all out to ensure that when AFCON 2023 arrives, it’s well equipped with some fantastic stadiums for the football to be played in. There are six stadiums in total, two in Abidjan and then one each in Bouake, Korhogo, San Pedro and Yamoussoukro, with capacities ranging from 20,000 up to 60,000.