Everything you need to know about the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON)


Everything you need to know about the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON)

Allan Damba 11:59 - 13.01.2024

Pulse Sports Uganda has delved into a detailed guide to the 34th edition of Africa's finest football showpiece.

The hugely anticipated 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) is set to kickstart today in Ivory Coast, where the continent’s biggest stars are expected to shine and showcase their might.

Pulse Sports Uganda has delved into a detailed guide to the 34th edition of Africa's finest football showpiece.

Host cities and Stadiums

The African Cup of Nations takes place in Ivory Coast for a second time, after their first in 1984.

Matches will be held at six stadiums across five cities.

The capital, Abidjan, offers two venues – the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium and the Alassane Ouattara Stadium, which will also host the final.

- Charles Konan Banny Stadium (Yamoussoukro City)

- Peace Stadium (Bouake City)

- (Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium (Korhogo City).

- Laurent Pokou Stadium (San Pedro)

Teams in Contention (Groups)

Group A – Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau

Group B – Egypt, Ghana, Cape Verde, and Mozambique

Group C – Senegal, Cameroon, Guinea, and The Gambia

Group D – Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Angola

Group E – Tunisia, Mali, South Africa, and Namibia

Group F – Morocco, DR Congo, Zambia, and Tanzania

When are the opening fixtures?

Ivory Coast face Guinea-Bissau in the opening match at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan, on January 13 in Group A. The kickoff is at 23:00 EAT.

The host nation will have the focus on the first day, but after that, there will be a minimum of two games per day through the group stage.

On match-day two, Nigeria take on Equatorial Guinea at 17:00 EAT to complete the first round of fixtures in Group A, with the game again being played at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium.

Abidjan remains the focus for the next two games of the day as Egypt meet Mozambique before Ghana open against Cape Verde. Both Group B games will be played at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium that day, with kickoff times of 18:00 EAT and 23:00 EAT, respectively.

How does the group stage work?

The top two teams in each group and the four best-ranked third-placed teams will advance to the last 16.

The bottom teams and the two worst-ranked third-placed teams in each group will be eliminated from the tournament.

How does the knockout stage work?

There will be three rest days from January 24 before the last-16 fixtures commence.

This is how the last 16 stage looks:

Group D winners vs third place Group B/E/F

Group A runners-up vs Group C runners-up

Group A winners vs third place Group C/D/E

Group B second place vs Group F runners-up

Group B winners vs third place Group A/C/D

Group C winners vs third Place Group A/B/F

Group E winners vs Group D runners-up

Group F winners vs Group E runners-up


Egypt are the record winners in AFCON’s history with seven titles. They were also runners-up most recently, in 2017 and 2021.

Mo Salah has lost two AFCON finals. (Photo Credit: Imago)

Cameroon follow closely with five titles, while Ghana have lifted the trophy on four occasions but not since 1982.

Meanwhile, Senegal are defending their only Africa Cup of Nations crown, while Morocco, the highest-ranked nation, have also only been crowned winners once.

Who are the favourites?

World Cup semifinalists Morocco are the clear favourites as they look to end a nearly 40-year wait for their second AFCON crown.

The 1976 winners are the highest-ranked team at the tournament.

Achraf Hakimi of Morroco | Credit: IMAGO

Reigning champions Senegal and the team they defeated in the last edition, Egypt, are expected to be the teams to push them closest.

Nigeria boast the squad with the most depth.

How much is the prize money?

There will be a 40 percent increase in the prize money for the winners of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The winners of the latest edition in Ivory Coast will receive USD 7 million (26 billion shillings).

The runners-up will get USD 4 million (15 billion shillings), with each of the two semifinalists receiving USD 2.5 million (9 billion shillings) and the four quarterfinalists taking USD 1.3 million (5 billion shillings) each.