With the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations set to begin and dozens of Ligue 1 players selected to represent their countries in Côte d’Ivoire, we start previewing the groups in the tournament. Today’s feature focuses on Group A.
The three-time AFCON winners, last winning the tournament in 2013, are one of the favorites to win the competition. Nigeria didn’t qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, so this marks the return of the Super Eagles to the international stage. FC Nantes’ Moses Simon and former LOSC Lille star Victor Osimhen are poised to showcase their exceptional offensive abilities and contribute significantly to Nigeria’s success.
The host nation and two-time AFCON winners will have the crowd on their side for every contest. Les Éléphants last won this tournament in 2015 and will want to add their third AFCON trophy in front of their home supporters. Côte d’Ivoire has a defense to frustrate the opposition, and AS Monaco’s Wilfried Singo will be counted on to play significant minutes, as will OGC Nice winger Jérémie Boga.
The Nzalang Nacional will be an underdog in Group A, considering Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire are the favorites to advance. Equatorial Guinea’s best showing in the AFCON was reaching the semifinals in 2015, losing to Ghana. Could Juan Michá and his squad rekindle magic from the past and go on an impressive run of their own?
Djurtus has been part of the last three AFCON tournaments. However, they have yet to advance past the group stage, but will hope to change that, with FC Metz’s Fali Candé and Olympique Lyonnais’ Mama Baldé in their ranks. In a challenging group with two past AFCON winners and Equatorial Guinea, who have progressed past the group stage in previous tournaments, can this year’s competition be the one in which Guinea-Bissau make history?