5 reasons why AFCON is the best tournament in the world

No country in the last eight from the AFCON 2021 made it through to the quarterfinal of the AFCON 2023.

The Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, remains the biggest display of African football in its purest form hence it is the Confederation of Africa Football, CAF’s elite competition.

AFCON 2023, the 34th edition of the competition, has showcased a rapid evolution of football, not just in its apparent expansion but also the diversity in the final eight teams over the last two tournaments.

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Here are five (5) reasons why the AFCON has proven to be the world’s best premium tournament.

1. AFCON’s underdog tales excite audiences

The AFCON 2023, hosted by Cote d’Ivoire, has been tagged the tournament of the underdogs and it has lived up to the hype so far with more surprises.

AFCON 2023: Angola players celebrate a goal CAF IMAGE

AFCON has delivered unpredictable drama in Ivory Coast, from Burkina Faso to Angola, and now South Africa, who just knocked out favourites and World Cup favourites, Morocco in the last 16.

This particular shift in tides displays the excitement and unpredictability that AFCON brings to the world stage.

Morocco’s Atlas Lions were the favourites. | Imago

2. Attacking football delivers goal-fest

The attacking style and skill level at the AFCON provides a top-tier spectacle that’s on par with any tournament in the world.

African nations have exhibited fantastic football, delivering goal-filled excitement that culminated in an unprecedented 89 goals, an average of 2.47 goals per game, in the group stage alone.

Equatorial Guinea's Emilio Nsue celebrates scoring against Ivory Coast \ Imago

Equatorial Guinea’s Emilio Nsue is the AFCON 2023 top scorer with 5 goals. (Photo Credit: Imago)

In comparison, that’s just 11 fewer than the 100 scored in the previous edition in Cameroon (2021), with the round of 16 matches producing an extra total of 16 goals.

3. Top officiating and use of VAR

AFCON has set a high standard for refereeing, with top-notch officiating and remarkable use of VAR enhancing the viewing experience.

The commitment to fair play and the effective deployment of technology ensures decisions are mostly accurate.

5. Narrowing gaps between teams

With the underdog status of the AFCON so far, the narrowing gap between teams shows that African football is evolving.

Victor Osimhen had one of his best games for Nigeria against Cameroon. || IMAGO / Shengolpixs

The expansion of the competition to 24 teams have allowed underdogs to challenge the traditional powerhouses on the continent, creating an unpredictable environment where any team can indeed triumph.


AFCON continues to deliver premium footballing excitement, evolving quality, and competitiveness that will surely cement its status as the best tournament in the world.

Meschack Elia celebrates the opening goal of the game for D.R Congo. (Photo Credit: CAF/X)

AFCON 2023 Quarterfinalists

  • Nigeria 
  • DR Congo 
  • Cape Verde 
  • Angola 
  • South Africa
  • Ivory Coast
  • Mali
  • Guinea

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