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Hosts Cote d’Ivoire take Guinea Bissau in opening match

Hosts Cote d’Ivoire take Guinea Bissau in opening match

Story by Lawrence Trusida, Sports Editor

THE 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations kicks off this Saturday, with hosts Cote D’Ivoire taking on Guinea-Bissau at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan.

Africa vibrates to the rhythm of AFCON 2023 this Saturday as the continent’s finest footballers go on show in Cote d’Ivoire.

24 nations will play 52 matches in five cities, illustrating how the tournament has grown from the first edition in 1957 which had three countries Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia.

Egypt is the most successful country in the history of AFCON with seven titles while they have also played in most finals.

The pharaohs have played in nine finals at the AFCON, a record they share with Ghana who have gone on to win the tournament four times.

Egypt’s Ahmed Hassan and Cameroon’s Rigobert Song hold the record for the most number of AFCON appearances having featured at eight AFCON tournaments.

Ghana’s Andre Ayew will join that league if he plays in Cote d’Ivoire.

The 24 teams at the 2023 edition are placed in six groups where the top two teams in each group will advance to the last 16 alongside the four best-ranked third-placed teams.

Hosts Cote d’Ivoire, who are one of the favourites, kick off the tournament with a date against Guinea Bissau a side that has never won a match in their three previous appearances.

The Elephants are hoping to emulate the class of 1984 by launching their campaign with a big win as hosts.

39 years ago, Cote d’Ivoire thrashed Togo three-nil in Abidjan in the opening match of the tournament.

Cote d’Ivoire are generally strong starters as they are undefeated in the opening match at AFCON in the last 12 tournaments with seven wins and five draws.

The hosts are in form, having scored 16 goals in their last three matches while their opponents have failed to score in their previous two AFCON appearances.

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