Africa Cup of Nations: Things to know before 2024 kick-off

Things to know about the Africa Cup of Nations before the 2024 tournament kicks off on Saturday with a Group A clash between hosts Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau:

AFP , Friday 12 Jan 2024,
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Ivory Coast
Hosts Ivory Coast are among the favourites to win the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations. AFP

 

Ivory Coast are staging the biggest African sport event a second time with Cameroon winning there in 1984. Nigeria finished second and Algeria third.

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The 1984 edition comprised eight countries and lasted 15 days -- 40 years later the number of participants has trebled to 24.

Ivory Coast flopped when they first hosted the tournament with a victory over Togo followed by losses to Egypt and Cameroon and elimination after the group stage.

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The 2024 tournament will comprise 52 matches over 30 days -- 36 across six groups and 16 in the knockout phase.

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Commercial capital Abidjan will host 20 matches in two stadiums, Bouake nine, San Pedro and Yamoussoukro eight each and Korhogo seven

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The opening match between Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau and the February 11 final are among 10 fixtures set for the new 60,000-seat Alhassane Ouattara stadium in Abidjan.

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Stadiums with 20,000 capacities were built in Korhogo, San Pedro and the capital, Yamoussoukro, for the Cup of Nations.

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The 40-000-seat ground in Bouake and the second in Abidjan, the 30,000-capacity Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium, were renovated for the biennial tournament.

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Should teams finish level on points in a mini-league, head-to-head records will be the first tie-breaker, followed by goal difference then goals scored in all group matches.

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If teams are still inseparable, lots will be drawn to determine final placings. This last occurred in 2015 with Guinea advancing to the quarter-finals at the expense of Mali.

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VAR will be used in all 52 matches with 12 officials selected to monitor matches. There will also be 26 referees and 30 assistant referees at the tournament.

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In the knockout phase, drawn matches will go to extra time, then a penalty shootout if necessary to determine winners. Matches decided by penalties are officially classified as draws.

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The first knockout stage -- the round of 16 -- will consist of the six group winners, six group runners-up and the four highest ranked third-placed teams.

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The following tie-breakers will be used to choose the best four third-placed teams: match points, goal difference then goals scored in all group matches, drawing of lots.

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Qualifiers were permitted squads of up 27 players. However, only 23 -- 11 starters and 12 substitutes -- can be chosen for matches.

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A record seven million dollars (6.4 mn euros) goes to the winners -- a 40 percent increase from the last tournament won by Senegal in 2022. The runners-up pocket four million dollars.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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Group A W D L P
Nigeria
2 1 0 7
Equatorial Guinea
2 1 0 7
Cote d Ivoire
1 0 2 3
Guinea Bissau
0 0 3 0
Group B W D L P
Cape Verde
2 1 0 7
Egypt
0 3 0 3
Ghana
0 2 1 2
Mozambique
0 2 1 2
Group C W D L P
Senegal
3 0 0 9
Guinea
1 1 1 4
Cameroon
1 1 1 4
Gambia
0 0 3 0
Group D W D L P
Angola
2 1 0 7
Burkina Faso
1 1 1 4
Mauritania
1 0 2 3
Algeria
0 2 1 2
Group E W D L P
Mali
1 2 0 5
South Africa
1 1 1 4
Namibia
1 1 1 4
Tunisia
0 2 1 2
Group F W D L P
Morocco
2 1 0 7
DR Congo
0 3 0 3
Zambia
0 2 1 2
Tanzania
0 2 1 2