The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is just eight days away with lots of buzzing already in town.

This year’s will be the 34 edition of the continental tournament with Ivory Coast set to host the rest of the continent.

Senegal are the defending champions of the competition following their epic win over Egypt in a dramatic final in Cameroon.

Group A houses the host nation, Ivory Coast, 2013 winners Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

Here is a preview of the group.

Ivory Coast

As mentioned earlier, the Elephants are in the competition by virtue of being the host country. They will be aiming to become the ninth nation to win as host nation.

Ivory Coast are making their 25th appearance at the continental showpiece after 24 previous featuring.

The West African country have won the tournament on two occasions – in 1992 and 2015 when they beat Ghaba in an intriguing final which went to penalties.

Despite having qualified for the AFCON already, Ivory Coast still played the qualifiers which also saw their last defeat. They lost 3-0 away from home against Zambia back in June and haven’t lost again since then.

Under Jean-Louis Gasset, the Ivorians have become one of the teams to beat on the continent and will definitely be one of the teams to look out for in the competition.

Ivory Coast are most likely to finish as group winners with the squad available at their disposal and backing from the supporters.


The Super Eagles’ qualification came on June 18, 2023, finishing top of Group A of the qualifiers.

Nigeria finished winners of the group above Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Sao Tome. Jose Peseiro’s men were unbeaten during the qualifying series, winning five and drawing one.

Nigeria are heading to their 20th AFCON and have three titles to their name. They won the competition in 1980, 1994 and 2013.

The West Africans exited the competition in the round of 16 in their last outing having won the bronze medal the edition before.

Nigeria boast a host of attacking options for the tournament with in-form Victor Boniface and Napoli superstar Victor Osimhen and should give the rest of the group opponents good competition.

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea finished as runners-up in the qualifying series behind Tunisia in Group J. They won four of their six qualifying games, losing one and drawing the other.

Equatorial Guinea picked a surprising win against Tunisia to seal qualification to the tournament having lost the earlier fixture by a huge margin.

This will be their fourth appearance at the continental tournament with their best being a semifinal finish in 2015.

Juan Micha’s side will be looking to upset any of Nigeria or Ivory Coast in the group.


Guinea-Bissau will be making their fourth successive AFCON appearance after featuring in the 2017, 2019 and 2021 editions.

However, they have never gone past the group stage in any of their previous three appearances.

Guinea-Bissau find themselves in Group A, where they will share the stage with host country Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria.

The Djurtus journey starts with a clash against the Elephants on January 13, followed by a potential winner-takes-all meeting with the Equatorial Guineans on the 18th. Finally, they face Nigeria’s Super Eagles in their third match.


While Ivory Coast and Nigeria may be the strongest teams on paper from the group, neither Equatorial Guinea nor Guinea-Bissau should be ruled out.

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