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No debutants as Africa’s giants target Cote d’Ivoire glory



The line-up for next year’s TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire is complete, with no new teams set to make their debut.

The 24 qualified sides feature continental heavyweights like holders Senegal, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria and DR Congo add further star quality, alongside South Africa, Mali and Burkina Faso.

Less fancied sides such as Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde and Gambia will look to spring a surprise.

Egypt extended their record number of AFCON appearances to 26 by qualifying again.


The Gambia remain the tournament’s least experienced side following their maiden outing last year.

Mozambique return after a six-edition absence, while Zambia are back following a run of three straight misses.

But there are no newcomers to freshen up the field at the first finals in the Cote d’Ivoire since 1984.

With a host of giants involved, competition for the title promises to be fierce when the tournament starts on 13 January.

Holders Senegal and regional powers Algeria and Nigeria are likely to be among the favourites.


But the expanded 24-team format leaves the door open for a shock winner.






Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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