Funniest Moments of AFCON 2023: From Onana’s Free Kick Advice to Salah’s Argument

Funniest Moments of AFCON 2023: From Onana’s Free Kick Advice to Salah’s Argument

Martin Moses
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
  • Ivory Coast beat Nigeria to win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations
  • The win marked the end of the highly entertaining football fiesta
  • We look at some of the moments that lit up the tournament

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations came to a dramatic end with a pulsating finale on February 11. Ivory Coast dug deep into their nine lives once again to stage an astonishing comeback against Nigeria.

The Super Eagles took the lead through William Troost-Ekong in the first half. Simon Adingra then took over the show, setting up two goals; the first one for Franck Kessie and the second turned in by Sebastian Haller.

Sebastien Haller, Nigeria vs Ivory Coast, AFCON 2023
Sebastian Haller celebrates after scoring for Ivory Coast against Nigeria. Photo by Issouf Sanogo.
Source: Getty Images

The goal was enough to hand the Elephants their first title since 2015, bringing to an end a tournament that had hilarious moments.

Funniest AFCON 2023 moments

Sports Brief has sampled a list of some of the funniest moments since the tournament began on January 13. The list is not arranged in any particular order. Have a laugh, it's never that serious.

1. Eric Chelle vs Ivory Coast

Football is such an emotive sport that it managed to produce flames from Eric Chelle's head. Well, not literally. The Malian head coach had just watched his side bottle a lead to a 10-man Ivory Coast in the quarter-final.

And after Oumar Diakite scored in the last minute of extra-time to knock them out, Chelle's head had to be restored to 'room temperature' with one of his backroom staff pouring water on his head after the final whistle.

Pour me water, holy water

Quench this fire

2. Juan Michá vs Guinea

Juan Michá is the second manager to make it to our list, producing the absolute meme of the tournament. The Equatorial Guinea boss had masterminded a beautiful group-stage run to top Group A ahead of heavyweights and eventual finalists Nigeria and Ivory Coast.

Captain Emilio Nsue was firing and ahead of the round of 16 clash, the right back who is also a striker, had five goals to his name. So when a 10-man Nzalang Nacional were awarded a penalty that could possibly seal their place in the last 8, there was no one better any Equatorial Guinean wanted on the ball than Nsue.

Well, even the best miss. Nsue smashed his effort on the base of the goal. No write-up can do justice to Micha's reaction.

Kan U Believe it?

3. Andre Onana offering free-kick advice vs Senegal

What possible advise would Andre Onana, a goalkeeper, have to give an outfield player about a free-kick?

Known for his confidence and theatrics, the Manchester United goalkeeper sprinted the entire length of the pitch to talk to Georges-Kévin N'Koudou before the Cameroon winger took a free-kick.

Onana was spotted gesturing, telling N'Koudou where to land his set piece. The ball rolled out of play without anyone touching it.

At the other end, he conceded thrice from three shots on target as his AFCON campaign came to an end 90 minutes after it started.

Onana, what's my name?

4. Zaidu Sanusi vs Angola

Nigeria, like any other football-loving nation, is known for its flamboyant and vocal fans. Dressed in their resplendent green and white attire, the fans were in their numbers to watch the Super Eagles play.

But one fan wasn't particularly impressed with Zaidu Sanusi's choices during their quarterfinal game against Angola.

The Porto fullback received a cutback from Ademola Lookman inside the area and unleashed a shot which flew over the bar, putting Harry Kane's World Cup penalty miss against France to shame. Aunty was far from happy.

Baby, calm down, calm down

5. The Ivorian Man and the Lady vs Senegal

After the Elephants beat the defending champions Senegal in one of the major surprises of the tournament, one man from Ivory Coast figured that he might as well score in another field.

The man, who has since been identified as Anselme Santos, became famous after he was seen talking to a lady after the game. The lady appeared disinterested as Santos insisted on conveying his sweet nothings.

Santos later admitted to asking for her number but the lady declined. It gets better; he revealed that he had a wife whom he apologised to on national television.

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush and something must kill a man

6. Mohamed Salah vs the referee

Mohamed Salah isn't the type of player to constantly pester referees but when he does, it usually makes for hilarious viewing.

In Egypt's second game against Ghana, the Liverpool talisman had a confrontation with referee Paul Atcho. The Gabon official came prepared and gave the Pharaohs' skipper a proper dress down.

He was one step away from recreating the Victor Gomes moment of AFCON 2021 when the referee hilariously offered Salah the whistle to carry on with the game.

The Ivory Coast edition delivered on all fronts. Morocco 2025, what you got?

AFCON 2023 individual awards

Sports Brief has reported that William Troost-Ekong won the 2023 AFCON Player of the Tournament. The Nigeria centre-back was sadly on the losing side in the final but his performances in Ivory Coast put him above everyone else.

South Africa goalkeeper Ronwen Williams won the Golden Glove, while Simon Adingra won the Young Player of the tournament.

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)