AFCON 2023: Teams With the Most to Prove in the Tournament, From Nigeria to Morocco

AFCON 2023: Teams With the Most to Prove in the Tournament, From Nigeria to Morocco

Edwin Kiplagat
updated at December 29, 2023 at 10:46 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
  • The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in a few weeks
  • Several teams are favourites to win the whole thing
  • Others have a lot to prove after falling short in the last few editions

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations is edging closer, and the excitement across the continent is building up.

Senegal will be looking to defend the crown they won in 2022. However, there will be teams desperate to win the title for different reasons.

Several sides have plenty to prove in the upcoming tournament.

Achraf Hakimi, Victor Osimhen, Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Cote d'Ivoire
Achraf Hakimi and Victor Osimhen are some of Africa's best players. Photos by Super Eagles (Instagram) and Sebastian Frej/MB Media.
Source: Getty Images

The tournament has been dominated by teams from West Africa and North Africa. Zambia are the only team from Central Africa and Southern Africa to win the tournament. The Chipolopolo won it in 2012.

It was a massive achievement for Zambia, which shows how tough it is to win the tournament. With that said, Sports Brief looks at teams with the most to prove in the 34th edition. Senegal and Algeria, winners of the last two editions, will also be looking to win it again.

Teams with most to prove at AFCON

5. Egypt

The Pharaohs have a lot less to prove than the other teams on this list. No team has won more titles than them. They have lifted it seven times, but the last time they won was in 2010 when they completed a historic three-peat. They reached the final in two of the last three editions. However, they are yet to capitalize on arguably their best player, Mohamed Salah.

Salah has been one of the best players in the world, and it will be a shame if they don't win at least one AFCON before he retires.

4. Cote d'Ivoire

The Elephants are probably the most underachieving team in Africa. For several years, they had one of the best teams in Africa, perhaps the world, but it only brought one AFCON title. They had a serious team consisting of Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure, Didier Zokora, Emmanuel Eboue, and others, per FIFA.

Drogba retired without winning an AFCON title, but their second title came in 2015. They have failed to impress ever since despite having a talented squad. Next month, there will be a lot of expectations from their fans and neutrals.

3. Morocco

At the 2022 World Cup, Morocco became the only African team to reach the semi-finals of the tournament. However, they have not lit up the Africa Cup of Nations for a while. They reached the final in 2004 but lost to Tunisia. Their only title came in 1976, but their 2022 World Cup performance means they will have to go all the way to the final, at least according to fans. Can they do it?

2. Ghana

Believe it or not, the Black Stars last won the AFCON in 1982. It is unbelievable that one of the giants of African football has stumbled on the continental stage many times. They still have one of the best squads in Africa, and there will always be expectations for Ghana to win it all. Can they end their 41-year drought?

1. Nigeria

The Super Eagles have always had one of the most talented squads in Africa. They have depth, especially in the striker position. However, all that talent has brought just one AFCON title in the 21st century. They are always favourites to win the tournament, but it is always unpredictable.

Victor Osimehn and Victor Boniface will spearhead Nigeria's attack, but can they lead them to glory?

Osimhen backed to lead Super Eagles

Former Nigeria international Etim Esin has said Osimhen and Bayer Leverkusen star Victor Boniface are capable of leading the Super Eagles to AFCON glory next year as Sports Brief earlier reported.

Osimhen and Boniface are two of Nigeria's best centre forwards and have scored a combined 24 goals this season.

If Nigeria are to win their first AFCON since 2013, the two forwards will need to be at their best.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.