Defending champions Senegal and 23 others begins quest for Africa’s biggest title

Victor Osihmen

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The 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations will start on Saturday, with Ivory Coast hosting the rest of Africa after a shift from the original date of summer 2023 to January 2024.

The Africa Cup of Nations in 2024 will now run from Saturday, January 13 to Sunday, February 11, with 2015 champions Ivory Coast welcoming defending champions Senegal and others to the West Africa country.

The elephants will kick off the tournament in the opening game against Guinea Bissau on Wednesday as they hope for a winning start in Group A. Ivory Coast are hosting to win after they were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Egypt (0-0, 5-4 on penalties) at the last AFCON campaign in Cameroon in 2021.

It was after that disappointment that Patrice Beaumelle’s contract as head coach was not renewed, and he was replaced by Jean Louis Gasset, who was appointed as the head coach of the Ivorian national team in May 2022.
However, they have been handed a tricky group with three-time African champions Nigeria and dark horses Equatorial Guinea and Guinea Bissau in the same group.

The Super Eagles had a disappointing 2021 edition, where they were knocked out in round 16; they also failed to make the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022. However, they have a strong forward line that is led by Victor Osihmen. Nigeria will open their campaign against Equatorial Guinea on Sunday.

Meanwhile, defending champions Senegal are grouped C alongside Cameroon, Guinea, and The Gambia. The Gambian national team experienced technical issues during their flight to Ivory Coast and returned to Banjul, putting their opening game against Senegal on Monday in doubt.

Group A: Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau
Group B: Egypt, Ghana, Cape Verde, Mozambique
Group C: Senegal, Cameroon, Guinea, Gambia
Group D: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Angola
Group E: Tunisia, Mali, South Africa, Namibia
Group F: Morocco, DR Congo, Zambia, Tanzania.
Daniel Ademiju Idowu

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