AFCON: And then there were eight…

Written by on February 2, 2024

Written by: Kamogelo Mogale



The 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations has reached it’s crunch time stage with only eight teams (Angola, Cape Verde Islands, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa) seeking cup glory to have the continent’s bragging rights.


The Sable Antelopes finished top of group D undefeated with seven points having won two games and drew one. They booked their spot in the quarterfinals after defeating Namibia 3-0 with striker Gelson Dala scoring a brace to continue his quest for the golden boot award alongside his compatriot Mabululu as he has scored four goals thus far while Mabululu has scored three goals in the tournament. This is Angola’s third quarterfinals appearance having previously made it to this stage in 2008 and 2010 when they hosted the tournament. They have face Nigeria in the quarterfinals for a place in the last 4.

Cape Verde Islands

The Blue Shark have been the dark horse and the comeback kids of the tournament. They finished top of group B, being one of four teams who remain undefeated in the tournament. Cape Verde defeated a 10-man Mauritanian team to book themselves a spot in the quarterfinals. This will be their fourth quarterfinals appearance having previously made it to this stage in 2013, 2015 and 2021. They will face South Africa for a place in the last 4.

Cote d’Ivoire

The Elephants suffered a 4-0 defeat in their final group A match in the hands of Equatorial Guinea, their worst defeat in their AFCON history. They had to wait for the final round of match to find out their fate of the tournament. Top ranked national team Morocco defeated Zambia 1-0 in order for the hosts to progress through to the round of 16. The two-times AFCON champions then faced defending champions Senegal and shocked the continent by defeating the Lions of Teranga 5-4 on penalties to revive their AFCON campaign. They will face Mali in another West Africa derby for a place in the last 4.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Leopards made a return in the tournament having missed out in 2021 in Cameroon. The two-times AFCON champions are also undefeated in this year’s tournament, finished second behind Morocco in group F having drawn all their games. They played a 1-1 draw against the seven times champions Egypt and it had to take a lottery of penalties to decide their fate. They produced one of the upsets of the tournament, defeating The Pharoahs 8-7 on penalties to progress through to the quarterfinals. They will face Guinea for a place in the last 4.


The National Elephants blew hot and cold in the tournament thus far having won one game, drew one and suffered one defeat. The finished third in group C on four points, enough to secure a spot in the round of 16. It was a battle of the Guinea’s as they faced Equatorial Guinea with Mohamed Bayo scoring a late goal to secure them a spot in the quarterfinals, their fifth appearance at this stage having previously made to this stage of the tournament in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2015. Guinea has never an AFCON title before with their best showing being a runners up finish to eventually champions Morocco in 1976. They will face the Democratic Republic of Congo for a place in the last 4.


The Eagles are also undefeated in the tournament, finished top of group E on 5 points having won game and drawing two. They have never won an AFCON title before and will look to go all the way to win their maiden continental title.   They faced the Stallions of Burkina Faso and claimed a 2-1 victory thanks to an own goals by Edmond Tapsoda and a goal by Lassine Sinayoko to secure a spot in the quarterfinals. They will now face hosts Cote d’Ivoire for a place in the last 4.


The Super Eagles, undefeated in the tournament finished second behind Equatorial Guinea on 7 points having won two games and drawing one. CAF African footballer of the year Victor Osimhen and Ademola Lookman have been the target men for the three-times AFCON champions scoring 5 goals thus far and conceding only 1 goal. They defeated five times AFCON champions Cameroon 2-0 in the round of 16 with Lookman scoring a brace to book the Super Eagles a spot in the quarterfinals. They will now face the Angola for a place in the last 4.

South Africa

Bafana Bafana started their AFCON campaign on a bad note, suffering a 2-0 defeat to Mali in the opening round. The 1996 champions managed to come back from their setback against Mali and won 4-0 against COSAFA region rivals Namibia and then a goalless draw against Tunisia to finish second place in group E on 4 points to secure themselves a spot in the round of 16. Hugo Broos’ charges were tested as they faced top ranked national team Morocco and managed to claim a 2-0 victory to book themselves a spot in the quarterfinals. Bafana have a score to settle against Cape Verde Islands, whom they suffered a home and away defeat to during the 2017 AFCON which saw them not qualifying for the tournament. Can Bafana Bafana do the unthinkable against the Blue Sharks? We’ll have to wait and see as these two sides will face each other for a place in the last 4.

The quarterfinals will get underway on Friday the 2nd February with Angola battling Nigeria at 19:00 and then the Democratic Republic of Congo taking on Guinea at 22:00. On Saturday Mali will face Cote d’Ivoire at 19:00 and then Cape Verde Islands will square off against South Africa at 22:00.

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