Home » Afcon 2023: Will Quarter finals provide more shocks?

Afcon 2023: Will Quarter finals provide more shocks?

by Akeem Adeyemi
afcon trophy

Upsets and unpredictability have been the story of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, with none of the quarter-finalists from the 2021 edition of the tournament reaching the last eight in Ivory Coast.

Defending champions Senegal, the continent’s top-ranked side Morocco, and record seven-time winners Egypt all fell by the wayside in the last 16 against the odds.

Just four countries who have lifted the trophy remain and Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea, and Mali are still dreaming of becoming continental champions for the first time.

Three-time winners Nigeria are now the favorites on paper as the highest-ranked country left, at 42nd in the world, but the Super Eagles will be wary of the growing expectation on them as the West Africans seek a first Afcon triumph since 2013.

Hosts Ivory Coast sneaked into the knock-out stages by the smallest of margins yet have renewed belief after beating the holders on penalties under the interim management of Emerse Fae.

“I’m not surprised by anything I’m witnessing,” said former Cameroon defender Sebastien Bassong
“Football is not about who you are. So many teams have been underdogs but played for their lives and outperformed other teams.” Super Eagles finding their wings

Nigeria had its issues coming into the tournament but has navigated potentially difficult waters as other heavyweights were sunk.

Striker Victor Osimhen has only netted one goal, but the 25-year-old Napoli man has received plaudits for his tireless running and pressing up front which helped set up Ademola Lookman’s opener against Cameroon in the last 16.

The Super Eagles now face their first-ever Afcon meeting with Angola, the lowest-ranked side left at 117th in the world.

Forwards Gelson Dala and Mabululu have impressed for the southern Africans, with four and three goals respectively at the finals, and captain Fredy has pulled the strings in midfield while registering three assists.

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