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West Africa takes the lion share as Cote d’Ivoire 2023 Afcon field is now complete




All the 24 teams expected at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations holding in Cote d’Ivoire in January have now emerged. Five-time champions, Cameroon were the last qualifiers when they laboured to a 2-0 win against lowly ranked Burundi on Tuesday night in Garoua, northern Cameroon.

Burundi needed just a draw to upstage Cameroon and looked on course for a dramatic qualification at the end of the first half. Returnee goalkeeper, Andre Onana had to pull many dangerous saves before Cameroon turned the game around in the second half.

Cameroon are therefore returning to Cote d’Ivoire where they first won the title nearly 40 years ago after beating Nigeria 3-1 at the final.

With their qualification, a formidable field of 12 former champions is established. That is half of the entire field. In addition, all the first currently top 16 ranked teams are in the fold of 24.


Egypt, the most successful team in the competition, having won seven times are back, hunting for a eighth victory. In-form Super Eagles, who last won the title 10 years ago, are hoping for a fourth title.

Tanzania are also back for the second time after a long wait from 1980 to 2019. West Africa will be presenting a strong field of 11 that include Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Cape Verde and The Gambia.

That leaves  the other regions of North, South, East and Central Africa sharing the remaining 14 slots.  From North Africa, Morocco leads a field of four that include Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt.

Central Africa have three teams – Cameroon, Congo DR and Equatorial Guinea. From Southern Africa are the quintet of South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia.

Tanzania is the only team from East Africa.  The final draw will hold on 12 October  in Abidjan. The complete field runs thus:


Cote d’Ivoire (hosts), Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo DR, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zambia


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.