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AFCON

Morocco enters 2023 Africa Cup of Nations as highest ranked team

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Morocco will go for next month’s  Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023, as the highest ranked side in the tournament following Thursday’s release of the FIFA Rankings.

The Atlas Lions maintained their leadership position on the continent just three weeks before the tournament starts in Cote d’Ivoire.

This means they will go into Africa’s flagship sports competition as the highest ranked team for the ranking that is released every month.

It also means Morocco finish the year by maintaining their position as the leading African football nation as there were minimal changes in the last FIFA rankings for the year.

It is a massive confidence boost for the Atlas Lions for the upcoming TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations who were closely followed by Senegal and Tunisia.

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Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Burkina Faso complete the top ten countries.

This ranking provides an opportunity to reflect on the statistical performance of the continent’s teams, with a total of 231 matches played throughout the year.

Among these, 91 were friendly matches, 88 were related to CAF competition qualifiers, and 52 were for FIFA competition qualifications.

Algeria and Madagascar emerged as the most active national teams on the continent, each participating in 16 matches.

The full list includes a total of 53 African nations, with Eritrea not ranked due to inactivity for over four years.

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Morocco’s consistent performance secured its top position in the continental rankings, reflecting a year of intense football activity across Africa.

As the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023, draws closer, football enthusiasts will eagerly anticipate how the ranking reflect on their teams’ performance in Cote d’Ivoire.

 

FIFA Rankings for Africa for December 2023

Position on
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continent

Country Global Position
1 Morocco 13
2 Senegal 20
3 Tunisia 28
4 Algaria 30
5 Egypte 33
6 Nigeria 42
7 Cameroon 46
8 Côte d’Ivoire 49
9 Mali 51
10 Burkina Faso 57
11 Ghana 61
12 South Africa 66
13 DR Congo 67
14 Cape Verde 73
15 Guinea 80
16 Gabon 82
17 Zambie 84
18 Equatorial Guinea 88
19 Uganda 92
20 Benin 97
21 Guinea Bissau 103
22 Mauritania 105
23 Madagascar 109
24 Kenya 110
25 Mozambique 111
26 Congo 112
27 Namibia 115
28 Angola 117
29 Togo 118
30 Comoros 119
31 Libya 120
32 Tanzania 121
33 Malawi 123
34 Zimbabwe 124
35 Gambia 126
36 Sierra Leone 127
37 Sudan 128
38 Niger 129
39 Central African Republic 131
40 Rwanda 133
41 Burundi 139
42 Ethiopia 144
43 Botswana 145
44 Lesotho 148
45 Eswatini 149
46 Liberia 153
47 South Sudan 166
48 Mauritius 177
49 Chad 181
50 Sao Tomé and Principe 191
51 Djibouti 192
52 Somalia 198
53 Seychelles 199

 

-CAF

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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AFCON

Nigeria’s AFCON 2025 fixtures almost in same pattern with World Cup qualifiers

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Confederation of African Football (CAF)  has now released the full fixtures of the qualifying series for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations.

The fixtures for the Nigerian team is almost in the same pattern with that of the 2026 World Cup qualification which has seen the Super Eagles wobbling.

Like that of the World Cup, the Super Eagles will begin their quest for qualifcation for AFCON with a home game in Uyo as they will host Benin Republic.

As it was in the World Cup, they will then head to Rwanda. Last November, their second match was played in Rwanda which hosted Zimbabwe home match. This time the Super Eagles will be facing Rwanda, the same team they will meet when the World Cup qualification series resume in March next year.

On Match Day 3, the Super Eagles will host Libya and will have the reverse fixture immediately after that of Match Day 3.

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Later they travel to Benin for Match Day 5 before hosting Rwanda on the last match day.

The Fixtures

  • September 2 – Nigeria vs Benin Republic; Libya vs Rwanda
  • September 6 – Rwanda vs Nigeria; Benin Republic vs Libya
  • October 11 – Nigeria vs Libya; Benin Republic vs Rwanda
  • October 16 – Libya vs Nigeria; Rwanda vs Benin Republic
  • November 11 – Benin Republic vs Nigeria; Rwanda vs Libya
  • November 15 – Nigeria vs Rwanda; Libya vs Benin Republic

The top two teams qualify for AFCON 2025

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AFCON

Rohr roars warning to Benin; Nigeria, Rwanda will not be easy

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Former Nigeria manager, Gernot Rohr now handling Benin Republic has warned The Cheetahs of Benin not to expect an easy match when the team meet Rwanda and Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later this month.

 Last month, he led his team to defeat both Rwanda and Nigeria in World Cup qualifying duels in Abidjan, where Benin Republic are compelled to play their home matches following inadequate facilities at home.

 Benin’s 1-0 defeat of Rwanda was Rohr’s first victory with the team. Days later, he followed up with a 2-1 defeat of Nigeria, the first Benin Republic victory in over 65 years.

 Those wins have put Benin in the frame of possible qualification for the World Cup. They are now to meet Nigeria and Rwanda again in World Cup qualifiers.

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 It won’t be easy, remarked Rohr.  Hear the Franco-German as he spoke in French but translated into English for the Sports Village Square: “From September we will play against Nigeria before facing Libya and Rwanda.  

“These are three difficult opponents.  We had already played Rwanda and Nigeria but be careful, it’s not because we won Rwanda and Nigeria that it will be easy matches.

“ We know that it is possible to achieve good performances again.  We know that Nigeria with its great players will want to take revenge against us.

“ I think it will probably be an interesting match in Uyo before continuing against Libya.  I suppose in Abidjan because in September the Mathieu Kerekou friendship stadium  will not be ready.  

“Everything will be decided in three months in September, October and November.  It’s a difficult group but it’s playable.  

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“You have to finish in the top two.  We had a team that is becoming solid, where the players are like brothers, accomplices.  I hope we will recover the players who were absent.  We are confident.”

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AFCON

Coaches react after intriguing Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers Draw

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The journey towards qualification to the  Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2025 shifted a gear higher on Thursday, after CAF officially conducted the draw of the qualifiers in Johannesburg South Africa.

A total of 48 nations will vie for the 24 places that will contests the 35th edition of Africa’s most prestigious competition.

This is what some of the coaches has to say in reaction to the draw outcomes.

Emerse Fae, Cote d’Ivoire coach

“I am satisfied because we are going to play against Zambia, a team that we know very well. In our last qualifying campaign, we lost against them. We know what mistakes to avoid.

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“I am also satisfied because I did not want to have countries geographically far from Cote d’Ivoire which will lessen the travel load. That said, in Africa, there are no longer small teams. All the teams will want to challenge us because we are the reigning champions”

Leslie Notši

“The draw is very interesting because when you have the host in your group, it means they qualify automatically for the tournament, and you have to double your efforts to secure the remaining qualification spot which will be contested by the three other teams in the group.

“We will work very hard to see to it that we are competitive side and try as much as we can to get maximum points in matches against countries that are with us in our group. It will be very important to do well in our home games and I know all eyes will be on “Morocco as the hosts and a powerhouse in our group. We will draw inspiration from recent games where we played the likes of Nigeria as well as Cote d’voire and were able to frustrate them”

Amir Abdou, Mauritania Coach

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“Quite a complicated draw. Egypt will be the big contender for qualification. They have a good track record that speaks volumes.

“Seven times African champions – that’s no small thing. We also have Cape Verde who eliminated us during the last AFCON.

“This team is made up of many quality players. We have Botswana, they are having a good qualifying campaign for the World Cup. We have a pretty strong group. It’s up to us to believe in ourselves. We will do everything we can to achieve our fourth participation in the AFCON”.

Kévin Nicaise, Chad coach

 “We are already having the reigning African champions facing the last qualified team in the FIFA rankings. These will definitely be very difficult matches played at high intensity. We will fight to defend our nation’s pride. The group remains relatively open, and we will approach these qualifications with humility and ambition”.

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 Badou Zaki, Niger coach

“We have every chance of qualifying. For me, Ghana is a football country with a team that is blessed with great professionals. But this is not the team of 5 or 6 years ago. Even at home, they can lose.

“Angola had a good showing at the last AFCON with their beautiful, modern and fast football. It’s a team that shook up the big teams in Cote d’Ivoire.

“I know Sudan very well. They are first in their World Cup qualifying group. They are going to be dangerous, but we know our strengths and we know we can go far”

-CAF

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