The Moroccan national team's shock defeat at the African Cup of Nations on Tuesday in the quarter-finals has paved the way for the emergence of a new champion for Africa in the 34th edition of the tournament, which has never topped the podium Is. ,
The “Bafana Bafana” team completed the qualification for the quarter-finals of the African Cup of Nations by defeating the “Atlas Lions” 2–0.
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The list of hopefuls began to dwindle following the exclusion of strong teams from competing for the continental title, including all Arab teams apart from Cameroon and Senegal (the defending champions): Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt.
It seems that the conflict is limited to the teams of Ivory Coast (home team), Nigeria and South Africa, but surprises are not excluded after events in the group stage, which could confuse all accounts.
The star-studded Algerian national team was the first team to leave after a shock defeat by a clear goal to the Mauritania national team.
The Desert Warriors were among the teams nominated to win the African Cup of Nations, but they defied most expectations.
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The Egypt national team joined Algeria in the round of 16 after losing on penalties to the Democratic Republic of Congo and a lackluster performance from their star Mohamed Salah.
Meshack Elia took advantage of the poor defensive position of the Egyptian national team and scored the first goal for the Democratic Republic of Congo#Africa_CupofNations , #Egypt_Congo #TotalEnergiesAFCON2023 pic.twitter.com/5m95XYqJFt
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The Senegal team failed to defend its continental title despite finishing the group stage with a perfect score, as it lost to the host country Ivory Coast team in the eighth round, thus ending its journey in the African Championship. However expectations kept them in the first place.
The Senegal national team entered the 2024 edition as the most likely candidate to win the title, but the “Elephants of Ivory Coast” had higher ambitions.
No African team that has won the tournament has been able to retain the title since Egypt won its third consecutive title in 2010.
While most expectations were in favor of the Atlas Lions to lift the Continental Cup, the South African team shocked them and were eliminated from the cup.
The Ivory Coast team, which qualified for the quarter-finals of the competition, became one of the strongest candidates to win the cup on its home soil, benefiting from field and crowd advantages and key stars such as the veteran. Max-Alain Gradel, and brilliant striker Sebastian Haller.
After ousting the champions of the last edition (Senegal), the path to the title seems clear for the Elephants team.
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The Eagles team announced themselves by defeating Cameroon with a double, which put them through to the quarter-finals. Where he dated Angola.
Earlier, the Nigerian team stunned host nation Ivory Coast with a clean sweep in the group stage, sending a strong message that it has the potential to be crowned champions. A group of stars are being relied upon to lead the way, headed by Napoli star and Africa's best player Victor Osimhen.
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The team, descended from late South African leader Nelson Mandela, also ended the Arab teams' last hopes of winning the African Nations title.
The victory for the “Boys” team over Morocco could be a morale boost to continue their journey towards the continental crown.
But the 34th edition was not without surprises, perhaps the most prominent of them being the Cape Verdean national team, which surprised everyone with its elite performance and amazing level of presentation in the group stage.
The “Dark Horses” jumped into the tournament after topping their group, which included teams from Egypt, Ghana and Mozambique.
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The Cape Verde national team began their campaign in the finals of the 34th edition of the African Cup of Nations with a surprise win over Ghana by two goals to one, before defeating Mozambique by three goals, and then concluding the group stage. Did it by one goal against one. Deadly draw with Egypt national team with two goals each.
The last club's fortunes brightened, defeating Mauritania in the last eight of the tournament with a goal in dead time, steadily making their way towards the advanced stages of the tournament.
The teams of Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Angola showed good level in the tournament which allows them to dream and surprise and perhaps overthrow the remaining top players of the continent.