Ranking the top six favourites to win the Africa Cup of Nations 2023

Egypt v Senegal - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifier
Egypt v Senegal - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifier

The wait is finally over. The first game of the Africa Cup of Nations 2023 has been played. The hosts, Ivory Coast has defeated Guinea-Bissau 2-0 in a relatively one-sided ncounter.

As anticipated, there are already a lot of inferences and projections concerning who might go on to claim the honors in Africa's most prestigious football competition.

On that note, this article will examine some critical parameters and predict the top six favourites who stand a good likelihood of winning the Africa Cup of Nations competition.

#6 Nigeria

Nigeria v Iceland: Group D - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Nigeria v Iceland: Group D - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Despite their recent dip in form, the Super Eagles of Nigeria are still one of the top contenders in AFCON, having lifted the trophy on three occasions.

Historically, Nigeria has reached the semi-finals of the tournament 14 times in their last 17 outings, and this would also be their 20th Africa Cup of Nations appearance.

One significant factor which makes Nigeria a key contender for the trophy is their remarkable squad depth as they boast of individually talented players such as Victor Osimhen, Alex Iwobi and Ademola Lookman who could provide a moment of magic to turn a game on its head.

Hence, if Jose Pereiro could bring the best out of his players, given the level of talent in the squad, Nigeria stands a good chance of securing their fourth Africa Cup of Nations title.

#5 Egypt

Brazil v Egypt: Men's Football Quarterfinal - Olympics: Day 8
Brazil v Egypt: Men's Football Quarterfinal - Olympics: Day 8

When it boils down to experience and the ability to manage a key game, there are only a few African teams that are better than the Pharaohs of Egypt.

The Egyptians are the most successful team in the history of the competition, having lifted the trophy seven times.

Even if it seems unlikely that Egypt could lift the trophy given the recent changes in their squad, they can't be underrated.

Moreover, with experienced players such as Mohamed Salah and Trezeguet in the squad, they have a decent shot at the trophy.

#4 Algeria

Algeria v Iran - International Friendly
Algeria v Iran - International Friendly

When you take a deep dive into the historic catalogue of the Africa Cup of Nations competition, it's notable that the Desert Foxes of Algeria have won the trophy just twice since the inception of the competition. Their most recent victory was in 2019.

However, this could all change as they are one of the outside favourites with a good chance of emerging victorious in this year's edition of the tournament.

Algeria has not been defeated in their last 13 games going into this tournament, and with proficient players such as Riyad Mahrez, Houssem Aouar and Mohamed Amoura, they could run riot in this competition.

#3 Ivory Coast

Japan v Ivory Coast - International Friendly
Japan v Ivory Coast - International Friendly

In AFCON, it's always a tradition for the hosts of the above tournament to excel.

The above could be because the immense level of support that the hosts usually receive from their supporters, and Ivory Coast, who will be riding on the crest of home support this year, are one of the nations tipped to win the trophy.

Ivory Coast has won the competition just twice. But when you take a good look at the current breed of players in the national team squad, they stand a good chance of replicating their 2015 triumph.

Moreover, the Elephants have already secured their first three points of the tournament after emerging victorious against Guinea-Bissau in the opening fixture.

#2 Senegal

Ivory Coast v Senegal - International Friendly
Ivory Coast v Senegal - International Friendly

Defending champions Senegal will be looking to extend their record as the titleholders going into this year's edition of the tournament.

Even if they've won the competition just once in their history, it's important to highlight that the Terenga Lions are highly equipped when it comes down to squad strength and consistency.

It remains to be seen if players such as Sadio Mane, Nicolas Jackson and Ismaila Sarr could get in sync and help Senegal defendtheir title.

#1 Morocco

Morocco v Peru: International Friendly
Morocco v Peru: International Friendly

Currently, Morocco are the odds-on favorites to win the trophy, given their extraordinary performance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup competition in which they reached the semi-finals of the tournament.

Even though the Moroccans only boast of winning one Africa Cup of Nations title, they have a great chance of doubling their tally this year with the array of proficient and talented players such as Hakim Ziyech, Sofyan Amrabat and Achraf Hakimi at their disposal, who came together in brilliant fashion at the World Cup.

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Edited by S Chowdhury
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