The biggest sporting event that regularly takes place on African soil will have its 34th tournament from the 13th of January until the 11th of February, 2024.

It will take place in five different cities in the West African country of Côte d'Ivoire, more commonly known as the Ivory Coast. Twenty-four countries that qualified for AFCON 2024 are placed in six different groups. 

Using basic math, we can deduce that every group has four national teams in it. All group winners and runners up, and also the four highest ranked third-placed teams qualify for the knockout stage. 

Group A

Now that we know the rules, let's take a look at the countries that managed to qualify for the African Cup. Starting off with Group A, which includes the hosts Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau. The ones to watch in this group are definitely the hosts and Nigeria.

The host, Ivory Coast have the likes of Wilfred Zaha, Ibrahim Sangare, and the new Brighton prodigy, Simon Adingra, looking to achieve success with their national teams for the first time in their careers. But the country that will, in my opinion, take the first place in this group will be none other than Nigeria. They have an amazing team, most of the big-name players being in the attacking third. Victor Boniface leading the charge for the amazing Bayer Leverkusen with 12 goal involvements in 11 games. We can't forget to mention Lukman, Awonii, and Chukweze, but the man to watch will definitely be Victor Osimhen.

He will be looking to show his skills and prove to everyone that he is a player worth more than $100 million. So the final predictions for this group look something like this:

  1. Nigeria in first place
  2. Ivory Coast as the runner up 
  3. Equatorial Guinea in third place and
  4. Guinea-Bissau the last in group A. 

Group B

Group B will definitely have a pretty starting forward winner and runner up as well. Egypt being the most decorated African nation in this competition is always considered one of the favorites. But Mo Salah will have to pull the reins furiously in order to achieve anything close to the historic success of his country. Ghana should be the one taking up that number one spot in this group. They have their own Mo as well, Mo Kudus, who is proving to be quite the player in the English Premier League. If you take into consideration that Kudus will have players like Thomas Partey behind him and Inyaki Williams next to him to combine with, I can definitely see Ghana taking the edge in this group and finishing first. As I said, Egypt will take the second spot, Mozambique might take the third spot, and I wouldn't be surprised if they come on top as one of the four third-placed countries that will pass the group stage. And Cape Verde will finish fourth. 

Group C

I have a feeling that this group, Group C, will have some awesome matches in store for us. I do have to predict that Senegal will be the team to come out on top of this group. Respect has to be shown for the winner of the previous AFCON. The big three from the previous Cup, Mane, Mendy, and Koulibaly, all went to the Saudi League.

But players like Jackson, Saar, and Matar Saar are showing their quality in the big five leagues. The second place in this group is hard to predict, but I would go with Cameroon. Meaning that the group should look something like this in the end: Senegal, then Cameroon, in third place and yet another team that will be among the best in that place is Gambia, with Guinea just missing out and finishing fourth. 

Group D

Moving on to Group D, where things could potentially get really complicated. While undoubtedly the favorite of this group is Algeria, the runner-up is a bit trickier to predict. Angola ended the African Nations qualifiers match with Mauritania in a draw, while Burkina Faso also had the last match against Mauritania ending in a draw. With that in mind, my prediction for this group will probably be something like this: Algeria in the first place, spearheaded by players like Mahrez and the man who is proving his worth in Roma Josem Awar, Angola in second, Burkina Faso in third, and Mauritania to finish in the last spot.

Looking back at the overall results of the Burkina Faso and Mauritania national teams, I must say that I am pretty confident that one of them, whoever it may be in the end, will end up qualifying into the knockout round due to being amongst the better third-placed countries.

Group E

Group E will produce some interesting matches for the neutrals as well. South Africa looks great and a lot of football fans around the world believe that they will be the one to top this group. This isn't a surprise when you take into consideration that they finished only two points behind Morocco in their qualifying group. But I will have to go with a country that rarely fails to qualify for any major national tournament. A country that played in five out of the last seven world cups and that's Tunisia. A national team that has proven to us that it's good when it comes to overcoming obstacles. For the third spot, I would go with Namibia and at the bottom of the table, any other country than Mali would be a surprise.

We won't get games where we can mostly see only individual performances shine but rather well-oiled and coordinated teamwork with a rather defensive-minded approach. To summarize, this is my prediction. First, Tunisia. Second, South Africa. Third, Namibia. And fourth, Mali. 

Group F

Last but definitely not least, we have Group F. This might be one of the most anticipated groups to follow. We have the national team that showed heart and passion, captivating the hearts of all the neutrals during the World Cup in Qatar, Morocco. With players like Hakim Ziyech and Nisiri getting more playing time for their clubs and stars like Adli, Amrabad and Hakimi shining bright this season, Morocco might be in their golden generation of football players. There is no doubt in my mind that they will pass Group F with flying colors, finishing at the top of the table. Democratic Republic of Congo topped its table in the Afghan qualifiers group, winning four out of the six matches they played. So I would say that they will be the ones finishing in the second spot. Zambia will be the fourth and final third placed nation to go to the next stage of the tournament, while Tanzania, having won only two matches in the qualifiers for AFCON, will finish last. So Morocco in first, DR of Congo in second, with Zambia and Tanzania in third and fourth respectively. Well, these were our AFCON 2024 group stage predictions. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below as well. 

Print this post