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AFCON 2023: Key strengths of four teams vying for final spots

AFCON 2023: Key strengths of four teams vying for final spots

The penultimate stage of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2023 is set with Nigeria, DR Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, and South Africa emerging as the four semi-finalists in the 34th edition of the continent’s premier sporting event.

Four teams, each with a unique narrative, as analyzed by Cafonline.com:


The Super Eagles stand as the most experienced team at this stage. Making their 16th appearance in a CAF AFCON semi-final, Nigeria aim for one thing – securing a spot in the final. Despite entering the tournament as favorites, Nigeria faced challenges, notably with a drawn match against Equatorial Guinea. While the focus was on their attacking prowess, the defence proved resilient, conceding only one goal.

Key Statistics for Nigeria: José Peseiro’s men are the only team to reach the semi-final without playing extra time.

DR Congo

Anticipation met reality as the Democratic Republic of Congo secured its first victory in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Ivory Coast 2023. Facing Guinea in the quarterfinals, the Leopards displayed strength, overcoming an early goal by the Syli National to win 3-1. This victory marks the fifth time in the history of DR Congo that they have reached the semi-finals of the Cup of Nations.

Key statistics for DR Congo: Whenever DR Congo won the CAN in 1968 and 1974, they eliminated the host country in the semi-final. In 1968, they beat Ethiopia 2-3 after extra time, and in 1974, Egypt fell by the same scoreline.

Côte d’Ivoire

January 22, 2024, witnessed the Elephants making headlines globally. Almost eliminated after a 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea, they bounced back, eliminating the reigning African champions, Senegal. In a dramatic victory against Mali, Oumar Diakité’s last-minute goal secured their place in the semi-finals. In their ninth semi-final appearance, Côte d’Ivoire faces DR Congo, setting the stage for a rematch of the 2015 semi-final where the Elephants emerged victorious with a 3-1 scoreline in Bata, Equatorial Guinea.

Key Statistics for Côte d’Ivoire: Côte d’Ivoire won their first Cup of Nations match in extra time since the 1992 quarterfinals, which they eventually won.

South Africa

Bafana Bafana returns to the pinnacle, ending a 24-year absence from the Cup of Nations semi-finals. The South Africans impressed, eliminating Morocco, a World Cup semi-finalist, and then adding Cape Verde, previously unbeaten. Their journey continues in the semi-finals, where they face familiar foes.

Key Statistics for South Africa: In their last semi-final appearance, South Africa suffered a 2-0 loss to Nigeria in 2000.



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