AFCON 2023: Teams That Could Become 1st Time Champions As Last 16 of Africa Cup of Nations Starts

AFCON 2023: Teams That Could Become 1st Time Champions As Last 16 of Africa Cup of Nations Starts

Joel Reyes
updated at January 27, 2024 at 6:36 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
CAF AFCON
Africa
Equatorial Guinea logo
Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea
32
Guinea logo
Guinea
Guinea
25
Mauritania logo
Mauritania
Mauritania
27
Namibia logo
Namibia
Namibia
24
Cape Verde logo
Cape Verde
Cape Verde
24
Angola logo
Angola
Angola
27
Burkina Faso logo
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
27
Mali logo
Mali
Mali
23
  • The knockout round of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations will begin later today
  • Half of the teams who qualified for the last 16 have never won the AFCON title before
  • Namibia and Mauritania reached the round of 16 after recording their first AFCON wins

The last 16 of AFCON 2023 is finally here.

Eight countries will look to create history and win Africa's biggest football competition for the very first time.

Sports Brief looks at the teams that could become maiden champions in this year's Africa Cup of Nations.

Emilio Nsue, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Namibia, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Angola, Cape Verde
Emilio Nsue celebrates after scoring a goal. Image: FRANCK FIFE.
Source: Getty Images

Teams that could become 1st-time AFCON champs

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea surprised many by finishing top of Group A ahead of former champions Nigeria and Ivory Coast.

Emilio Nsue has been superb for Nzalang Nacional, scoring five goals in the group stage, per AfricaNews.

Their best finish in this tournament came in 2015 when they ended up in fourth place.

Cape Verde

The Blue Sharks stamped their class in the 'Group of Death', going unbeaten and finishing in first place with seven points.

They will look to keep the momentum going and win their first-ever AFCON title. Their best finish in the Africa Cup of Nations came in 2013 when they reached the quarter-finals.

Guinea

Guinea qualified for the last 16 after finishing third in Group C. They sealed their passage to the next round as one of the four best third-placed teams in this year's AFCON.

They came close to winning this event in 1976, with Syli National losing in the final to Morocco.

Angola

Angola booked their place in the knockout round after claiming first place in Group D. They recorded wins over Burkina Faso and Mauritania to reach the last 16.

Their best finish in this tournament came in 2008 and 2010 when they reached the quarter-finals.

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso qualified for the round of 16 after finishing second in Group D with four points.

Their goal now is to win the title for the first time in their history. They came close to capturing the championship in 2013, with the Stallions losing 1-0 to Nigeria in the final.

Mauritania

Mauritania made history in the group stage, recording their first-ever victory in the Africa Cup of Nations with a 1-0 win over former champions Algeria.

That result also helped the Almoravids reach the AFCON last 16 for the very first time.

Mali

Mali secured a spot in the knockout round after finishing top of Group E. They went unbeaten in the group stage, recording one win and two draws.

They reached the semi-finals twice before, with the Eagles claiming third place in 2012 and 2013. They will look to go one step further and reach the final this year.

Namibia

The Brave Warriors made history in the group stage, recording their first-ever win in the Africa Cup of Nations with a narrow 1-0 victory over former champions Tunisia, per BeinSports.

The knockout round is uncharted territory for Namibia as they have not advanced past the group stage in AFCON before.

Nsue's star turn at AFCON 2023

Sports Brief recently reported on Emilio Nsue outshining the star names at AFCON 2023.

He scored the tournament's first hat-trick in the win against Guinea-Bissau.

He added two more goals in the win against Ivory Coast to grab the lead in the Golden Boot race.

Authors
Joel Reyes photo
Joel Reyes
Joel Reyes is a sports editor at Sportsbrief.com with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines. He has eight years of work experience in sports writing.