AFCON 2023 Group F Predictions, Preview: Hakimi’s Morocco Aim to Replicate World Cup Run

AFCON 2023 Group F Predictions, Preview: Hakimi’s Morocco Aim to Replicate World Cup Run

Martin Moses
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
Bounou logo
Al-Hilal Saudi FC logoGMorocco logo
Hakim Ziyech logo
H. Ziyech
Galatasaray logoFMorocco logo
Achraf Hakimi logo
Paris Saint Germain (PSG) logoDMorocco logo
Cédric Bakambu logo
Real Betis logoFDemocratic Republic of the Congo logo
Gaël Kakuta logo
G. Kakuta
Amiens logoMDemocratic Republic of the Congo logo
Mbwana Samatta logo
M. Samatta
PAOK Saloniki logoFTanzania logo
S. Msuva
DHJ Difaa Hassani Jadidi logoF-
Patson Daka logo
P. Daka
-FZambia logo
Fashion Sakala logo
F. Sakala
-FZambia logo
  • Morocco will be the overwhelming favourites to lift the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations
  • The World Cup semifinalists will face 2012 champions Zambia and two-time winners DR Congo
  • We take a look at the players to watch in each team and our predictions for the group stage action

One year after stunning the world by becoming the first African country to reach the World Cup semifinals, Morocco are back in tournament football, looking to end their Africa Cup of Nations drought.

For a nation blessed with a vast pool of talent and resources, it is rather embarrassing that the Atlas Lions only have one AFCON title to their name.

Hakim Ziyech, AFCON 2023, Morocco, Tanzania, DR Congo, Zambia
Hakim Ziyech of Morocco during a friendly match against Peru in March 2023. Photo by Alex Caparros.
Source: Getty Images

Is Ivory Coast where that will change? Morocco will first need to overrun and outdo a group with two other former champions in Zambia and DR Congo, plus minnows Tanzania.


Well, as already mentioned, they were the talk of the town at the 2022 Qatar World Cup. Walid Regragui coached a side that upset heavyweights like Spain and Portugal.

The good news for the African Coach of the Year is the base of that team that did duty in Qatar is in for AFCON 2023, plus a few other talents that will make for good headache selection issues for Regragui.

Achraf Hakimi remains a live wire as a defender, running up and down the flanks and set-piece duty. Yassine Bounou is the continent's best goalkeeper, while Tarrik Tissoudali and Amine Harit will be hoping to make up for lost time after missing the World Cup.


Talking of fairytale runs - AFCON has witnessed beautiful stories recently, but perhaps none was better than the Chipolopolo Stars winning the 2012 edition - beating Didier Drogba's Ivory Coast in the final.

Many of the stars of yesteryear are no longer available, but former Chelsea boss Avram Grant still has a couple of professional players in top leagues to call upon.

Patson Daka set the Austrian league on fire before moving to England with Leicester City. He and former Rangers' forward Fashion Sakala, complemented by the industry of Clatous Chama, can unlock any defender on their day.

DR Congo

The Leopards were among the notable absentees of the 2022 edition in Cameroon and Head Coach Sebastian Desabre will be hoping to restore some of the glory of the past years that saw them win two titles.

The team is littered with some heavy-hitters despite Aaraon Wan Bissaka's refusal to switch allegiances. Yoane Wissa has been forced to bear the brunt of Brentford's attack this season in Ivan Toney's and Bryan Mbeumo's absences.

He will once again be called upon for his national side but will have the old guard of Cedric Bakambu and Gael Kakuta alongside him. The team also has a couple of wildcards, like Meshack Elia and Fiston Mayele.


Taifa Stars' record at this stage doesn't inspire much confidence, but crazier things have happened. The East African nation has only played six games in AFCON's history, winning none, drawing once and losing the rest.

Coming up against former champions, it doesn't look like Ivory Coast will be where Adel Amrouche's boys pick up their first win.

However, the aforementioned 'big' teams will need to be wary of the potency of skipper Mbwana Samatta and Saimon Msuva, who have proven to have a knack for conjuring important goals in their careers.

Sports Brief prediction

This will be Morocco's group to lose, with DR Congo coming in second. Zambia can possibly squeeze through as one of the best losers, depending on how their game against DR Congo pans out.

AFCON 2023 Group D preview

At the same time, Sports Brief has done a similar breakdown for Group D, where 2019 champions Algeria will be expected to dominate.

The Riyad Mahrez-captained side will face opposition in the form of 2013 finalists Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Angola.

Martin Moses photo
Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)