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 B.
The Tubarões Azuis are in a challenging group, considering Egypt and Ghana will be the favorites to advance. Still, Cape Verde has the talent and veteran leadership to be a surprise team at the AFCON. One of the players who will bring experience is Steven Moreira, who is coming off winning the 2023 MLS Cup with the Columbus Crew and has played in France with various Ligue 1 teams, while fellow defenders Logan Costa (Toulouse FC) and Dylan Tavares (SC Bastia) have also made the squad.
The seven-time AFCON winners last won this tournament in 2010 but have come close to ending their drought in the past 14 years. Egypt has been a runner-up twice, losing to Cameroon (2017) and Senegal (2021). Behind the excellent form of both Mohamed Salah and FC Nantes’ Mostafa Mohamed, the Pharaohs are favorites to advance past the group stage and win the tournament. Can this finally be the year the team lifts their eighth AFCON trophy?
The Black Stars have won the AFCON four times, but their last win came in 1982. Still, Ghana has come close to adding their fifth trophy, as they were runners-up three times, losing twice to Côte d’Ivoire (1992 and 2015) and Egypt (2010). Manager Chris Hughton will count on as many as eight players from France, including Andre Ayew and defenders Salis Abdul Samed and Mohammed Salisu in the hopes that Ghana can end its 42-year AFCON drought.
Os Mambas are in the AFCON for the first time since 2010 and have never advanced past the group stage in the tournament’s history. Former Ligue 1 defenders Reinildo Mandava (LOSC Lille) and Mexer (Stade Rennais, Girondins de Bordeaux) are in the squad, but with a lack of stars, Mozambique will have to display a collective ethos rather than individuality if they want to make it to the knockout stages for the first time in their history.