AFCON 2023: Dubai Coach Explains Why the Tournament in Ivory Coast Was Filled With Upsets

AFCON 2023: Dubai Coach Explains Why the Tournament in Ivory Coast Was Filled With Upsets

Ero Samson
updated at March 1, 2024 at 9:56 AM
In this article:
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  • The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations was a highly enthralling showpiece
  • The tournament was characterised by a flurry of unexpected results
  • A Dubai-based coach has explained why the AFCON was full of upsets

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) was a captivating spectacle that defied expectations and unfolded in ways no one could have predicted.

Teams that were considered underdogs before the tournament delivered surprising results, creating a thrilling and unpredictable competition.

Traditional African powerhouses like Ghana, Egypt, and Morocco were unexpectedly knocked out by teams that were seen as less formidable.

AFCON, Ghana, Algeria, Mozambique, CAF, Andre Ayew
Andre Ayew reacts after Ghana were eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations by Mozambique. Image: Issouf Sanogo.
Source: Getty Images

Even the 2019 champions, Algeria, faced setbacks despite their talented squad and were unable to secure a win in the group stage, eventually being eliminated by Mauritania, a team ranked 106th by FIFA.

Reflecting on this unprecedented tournament full of upsets, Dubai-based football coach, Ayere Sylvester, has offered insights into the reasons behind the surprising outcomes seen across African football.

Coach Ayere speaks on AFCON upset

In a discussion with Sports Brief, the Fleetwood United Dubai U23 manager reflected on the events of the Nations Cup, emphasising the overall improvement of African football.

However, when asked about the upsets that affected big teams at the AFCON, the coach explained:

"The AFCON is more about passion than tactics. It's emotional and highly physical. Many of the nations that suffered upsets didn’t have enough time to prepare for the tournament compared to the FIFA World Cup.
"At this AFCON, several teams with players in Europe and Asia arrived late, with some barely making it before the tournament kicked off. It's important to note that most players in Europe tend to hold back to avoid injuries before returning to their clubs, which contributed to the surprising results we witnessed.
He added, "The smaller teams were willing to sacrifice their bodies, which contributed to their impressive performance."

The insights of the coach resonate with a host of football stakeholders, who have echoed the fact that many players plying their trade across Europe had little time to acclimatise to the demands of the AFCON.

The coach, however, concluded by acknowledging that the availability of top-tier footballing resources to traditionally smaller teams in Africa also played a role in the tournament's upsets.

Peseiro to resigns as Nigeria’s coach?

Sports Brief also reported on claims that current Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro, has stepped down from his role following an offer from the Algerian Football Federation (FAF).

The rumour mill has suggested the 63-year-old has informally agreed to join the 2019 AFCON champions, potentially filling the position at the helm left vacant by Djamel Belmadi.

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Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).