AFCON AFCON 2023: All You Need To Know About Group A

The 34th Africa Cup of Nations, originally scheduled for 2023 but moved to 2024 begins in Ivory Coast on January 13.

The Teranga Lions of Senegal defeated Egypt 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw in the last edition.

They will try to retain the trophy they took home from Cameroon in February 2022.

en.Africatopsports.com looks at every team in Group A after the January 3 deadline for all participating clubs to submit their 27-man squad lists.

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Group A, which has two house hold names in the tournament, is regarded as one of the sleeky groups.

Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, the hosts, are favoured to advance out of the group.But they have to watch out for spoilers like Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea.

The final roster for the Group A teams is shown here.

Ivory Coast Full Squad

Goalkeepers: 

Yahia Fofana (Angers, France), Charles Folly (ASEC Mimosas, Ivory Coast), Badra Ali Sangare (Sekhukhune United, South Africa).

Defenders: 

Serge Aurier, Willy Boly (both Nottingham Forest, England), Ismael Diallo (Hajduk Split, Croatia), Ousmane Diomande (Sporting Lisbon, Portugal), Ghislain Konan (Al Fayha, Saudi Arabia), Evans Ndicka (Roma, Italy), Odilon Kossounou (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Wilfried Singo (Monaco, France).

Midfielders: 

Jean-Thierry Lazare Amani (Union Saint-Gilloise, Belgium), Idrissa Doumbia (Alanyaspor, Turkey), Seko Fofana (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia), Ibrahim Sangare (Nottingham Forest, England), Franck Kessie (Al-Ahli, Saudi Arabia), Jean-Michael Seri (Hull City, England).

Forwards: 

Simon Adingra (Brighton & Hove Albion, England), Jonathan Bamba (Celta Vigo, Spain), Jeremie Boga (Nice, France), Sebastien Haller (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Karim Konate (RB Salzburg, Austria), Christian Kouame (Fiorentina, Italy), Jean-Philippe Krasso (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia), Max-Alain Gradel (Gaziantep, Turkey), Oumar Diakite (Reims, France), Nicolas Pepe (Trabzonspor, Turkey).

Equatorial Guinea Full Squad

Goalkeepers: 

Jesus Owono (Alaves, Spain), Manuel Sapunga (Polokwane City, South Africa), Aitor Embela (Soneja, Spain).

Defenders: 

Basilio Ndong (Universitatea Craiova, Romania), Carlos Akapo (San Jose Earthquakes, USA), Hugo Buyla (Sampdoria, Italy), Charles Ondo (Huddersfield Town, England), Saul Coco (Las Palmas, Spain), Marvin Anieboh (Illescas, Spain), Nestor Senra (Real Aviles, Spain), Jose Elo (Merida, Spain), Esteban Orozco (Arges Pitesti, Romania).

Midfielders: 

Jannick Buyla (Logrones, Spain), Luis Nlavo (Braga B, Portugal), Alex Balboa (Alaves, Spain), Federico Bikoro (Club Africain, Tunisia), Iban Salvador (Miedz Legnica, Poland), Jose Machin (Monza, Italy), Santiago Eneme (MFK Vyskov, Czech Republic), Josete Miranda (Niki Volos, Greece), Pablo Ganet (Alcoyano, Spain), Federico Nguema (Balti, Moldova).

Forwards:

 Noe Ela (Numancia, Spain), Jose Nabil (Cano Sport, Equatorial Guinea), Emilio Nsue (Intercity, Spain), Salomon Obama (Santa Coloma, Andorra), Oscar Siafa (Alessandria, Italy).

Guinea-Bissau Full Squad

Goalkeepers: 

Ouparine Djoco (Francs Borains, Belgium), Fernando Embadje (Alcanenense, Portugal), Jonas Mendes (Kalamata, Greece).

Defenders: 

Fali Cande (Metz, France), Marcelo Djalo (Palencia, Spain), Jefferson Encada (Pharco, Egput), Edgar Ie (Istanbul Basaksehir, Turkey), Houboulang Mendes (Almeria, Portugal), Nanu (Samsunspor, Turkey), Nito (Maritimo, Portugal), Opa Sangante (Dunkerque, France).

Midfielders: 

Janio Bikel (Gaziantep, Turkey), Moreto Cassama (Omonia, Cyprus), Dalcio (APOEL, Cyprus), Carlos Mane (Kayserispor, Turkey), Sori Mane (Academico Viseu, Portugal), Carlos Mendes (Bolton Wanderers, England), Mauro Rodrigues (Yverdon, Switzerland), Alfa Semedo (Al Tai, Saudi Arabia).

Forwards: 

Mama Balde (Lyon, France), Franculino (Midtjylland, Denmark), Zinho Gano (Zulte Waregem, Belgium), Famana Quizera (Academico Viseu, Portugal), Marciano Sanca (Almeria, Spain), Ze Turbo (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia).

Nigeria Full Squad

Goalkeepers: 

Stanley Nwabili (Chippa United, South Africa), Francis Uzoho (Omonia, Cyprus), Leke Ojo (Enyimba, Nigeria).

Defenders: 

William Troost-Ekong (PAOK, Greece), Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahce, Turkey), Ola Aina (Nottingham Forest, England), Zaidu Sanusi (Porto, Portugal), Bruno Onyemaechi (Boavista, Portugal), Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England), Calvin Bassey (Fulham, England), Chidozie Awaziem (Boavista, Portugal), Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa, Turkey).

Midfielders: 

Raphael Onyedika (Club Bruges, Belgium), Joe Aribo (Southampton, England), Frank Onyeka (Brentford, England), Alex Iwobi (Fulham, England), Alhassan Yusuf (Royal Antwerp, Belgium).

Forwards: 

Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England), Samuel Chukwueze (AC Milan, Italy), Moses Simon (Nantes, France), Ademola Lookman (Atalanta, Italy), Victor Osimhen (Napoli, Italy), Victor Boniface (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Ahmed Musa (Sivasspor, Turkey), Sadiq Umar (Real Sociedad, Spain).

GROUP A STARS TO WATCH

Seko Fofana (IVORY COAST)

The former Lens dynamo is employed in the Middle East these days, but he is no less than what he was for the French side for so long: an all-phase midfielder of the highest order. 

Sebastien Haller (IVORY COAST )

Haller may have not played much for Dortmund before the tournament due to injury, but he is definitely the man that could help the Elephants upfront in their quest to win the AFCON title

Mama Balde (Guinea-Bissau)

Balde plays for Olympique Lyon, who are currently struggling in the French Ligue 1 and has the highest prominence in the team.

With the ability to play both up front and on the right, Balde’s movement was crucial to Guinea-Bissau’s unexpected qualifying win against Nigeria. In a challenging group where opportunities will be scarce, the team will be looking to him for a big effect.

Franco Dju (Guinea-Bissau)

19-year old Dju scored on his debut for his country against Sierra Leone back in September. He has been tearing up the Danish topflight with Midtjylland, scoring one every 76.5 minutes over 19 games in all competitions.

Jose Machin (Equatorial Guinea)

The team’s ability to hold its own in the middle of the park and move up the pitch is largely attributed to Jose Machin, a midfielder for Monza, whose deft ball handling and ability to evade pressure.

Jesus Owono (Equatorial Guinea)

Jesus Owono was one of the best goalkeepers in the 2021 AFCON until the quarterfinals; if Nzalang Nacional is to advance from Group A, he must play at least as well.

Victor Osimhen (Nigeria)

Even with a wealth of skill in attack, Nigeria’s CAF African Player of the Year Victor Osimhen leads the line with distinction, to the point where the Super Eagles might look listless without the Napoli player.

It will be necessary for him to use his athleticism and work ethic, which frequently make the most of unthreatening circumstances.

Victor Boniface (Nigeria)

Boniface took the Bundesliga by storm and has been pivotal for Bayer Leverkusen who currently top the league table.

This will be his first tournament Boniface will be playing for the Super Eagles.

STADIUM

All Group A games will be played at the  Alassane Ouattara Stadium a multipurpose stadium located in Ebimpé and Anyama, in northern Abidjan.

It is also referred to as the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé and was originally known as the National Stadium of the Ivory Coast.

It was opened in 2020 and has hosted major football games including the Ivory Coast national football team’s home games.

It is the biggest stadium in Ivory Coast and among the most contemporary in Africa, holding 60,000 spectators.

Under Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan’s , the stadium was primarily designed and construction was started with the intention of hosting the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

However, on November 30, 2018, CAF stripped Cameroon of hosting the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations due to delays in the construction of stadiums and other necessary infrastructure; it was moved to Egypt.

After the 1984 African Cup of Nations, the nation will host its first significant competition—the African Cup.








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