The trophy of the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) is pictured on the stage during the CAN 2024 official draw at Parc des Expositions in Abidjan, southeastern Ivory Coast, on October 12, 2023. (Photo by WIKUS DE WET / AFP) (Photo by WIKUS DE WET/AFP via Getty Images)

AFCON 2023: Seven things that have taken this edition to the next level.


As the 34th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) unfolds, it has proven to be a spectacle of footballing prowess, unity, and unexpected outcomes. This year’s tournament, hosted by Ivory Coast, has captured the attention of the world, showcasing the best of African football and culture. Beyond the on-field action, the tournament has become a global event, drawing attention from diverse corners of the world and cementing AFCON as an international affair. This has fostered a sense of unity and shared excitement among football fans worldwide.

As the tournament gears up for the next stage, AFCON’23 promises to deliver even more thrilling moments and reaffirm the significant impact of African football on the global stage. Here are seven interesting facts worthy of note.

Expanded Participation.

The decision to increase the number of national teams in the final stage from 16 to 24 has led to a breathtaking group stage, with several teams that were assumed to be minor upsetting bigger ones. This one single move, set the pace for an extra dramatic season.

Surprising Performances.

The expanded format has resulted in several surprises, with powerhouse teams like Ghana failing to move beyond the group stage. The tournament has also seen some of the continent’s lesser-known teams, such as Comoros and Sudan, put up impressive performances against more established teams.

Revised Tournament Formats.

The tournament has led to both Fifa and the Confederation of African Football (Caf) revising their tournament formats to close the gap between the top football countries and the rest. Both organizations have adopted a league system for qualifying stages, which allows more countries to play in multiple games against the top-ranked teams.

Global Attention.

With four of Ivory Coast’s neighbors – Guinea, Ghana, Mali, and Burkina Faso – playing at the tournament, the event has garnered global attention, making it a truly international event. The tournament has also been broadcast globally, with satellite broadcasting elevating the global excitement of the AFCON tournament.

Infrastructure Development.

Ivory Coast has invested more than $1 billion in infrastructure related to the competition, including the construction of new stadiums and the development of roads and airports. The tournament has also created jobs and boosted the local economy.

Vibrant Fan Culture.

The tournament has brought vibrant fan culture to the forefront, with fans gathering in local spots, enjoying local delicacies, and engaging in passionate football debates. The tournament has also seen fans from different countries come together to support their teams, fostering a sense of unity and shared excitement among diverse football fans.

Anticipation and Excitement.

The host country, Ivory Coast, is filled with anticipation and excitement, with the entire nation coming together to support the event and the participating teams. The tournament has also been a source of pride for the African continent, with the event showcasing the best of African football and culture.

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