5 round of 16 fixtures that could determine the winner of AFCON 2023
As the round of 16 of AFCON 2023 kicks off today, predictions as to the country that will be crowned the kings of African football have taken center stage. With this in mind and based on the current forms of countries at AFCON 2023, here are five games in the round of 16 that can determine the winner of the tournament.
The Round of 16 of AFCON 2023 will commence with two key fixtures today, Saturday, January 27, 2024, countries have stunned many big players in the competition so far and with the tournament gradually coming to a close speculations as regards to what to expect in the quarterfinals, semifinals and even finals have submerged.
With a current look at the form of countries in the tournament so far here are the fixtures in this stage of the competition we believe will determine countries that will feature in the finals and who will be crowned winner of AFCON 2023:
Nigeria v Cameroon
Arguably two of the biggest sides in African football, Nigeria vs Cameroon are now one of the fixtures that can determine who ends up winning the competition as the winner of this fixture proceeding to the next round (quarterfinals) of AFCON 2023. Nigeria has had a remarkable record at the knockout stage of AFCON over the years winning 22 a number more than any other country in the tournament's history.
Nigeria has maintained an unbeaten streak in the 2023 tournament so far and eyes are on the giant of Africa as favourites for the finals of the competition. With an attacking prowess in terms of talents that remain unmatched in the competition, the Super Eagles will be looking to take their chances in this stage of the competition and go all the way.
Cameroon will be chasing a redemption arc following their poor start in the competition. With key players back in training for the Indomitable Lions, the round of 16 fixture seems to be the stage set to get an important result that warms the hearts of fans.
Equatorial Guinea v Guinea
A side that has shocked and impressed at AFCON 2023 is Equatorial Guinea. Equatorial Guinea finished top of Group A defeating Guinea-Bissau by the scoreline of 4-2 and the hosts Ivory Coast by the scoreline of 4-0.
Equatorial Guinea has played to the tee like a well-oiled machine and is tipped to at least finish in the top three of AFCON 2023.
Equatorial Guinea might prove to be a tough opponent if the team progresses to the quarterfinals of the competition and the team might also have enough confidence that will see them challenge for the title as a whole.
Egypt v Democratic Republic of Congo
Egypt vs DR Congo has been categorized as a must-watch in AFCON 2023 as the two sides play different styles of football and DR Congo holding the World Cup 2023 semifinalists Morocco to a draw is what has put them on the radar of many analysts.
The team has shown its efficiency in getting the results when necessary and playing to their full strengths and capabilities.
Egypt was off to a shaky start at AFCON 2023 narrowly securing a qualification into the round of 16 of the competition. The team will be without the talisman and captain Mohamed Salah which in some way neutralises their attack capabilities. But the Pharoahs are known to always increase the intensity of their football in the competition's knockout stage. A notable example is making their way into the finals of AFCON 2021.
Senegal v Ivory Coast
The champions Senegal have been off to a perfect start at AFCON 2023, The champions have been clinical and intentional with their games on the pitch sending a strong message to opponents that they do not look to relinquish the crown without a fight.
Hosts Ivory Coast secured a narrow qualification and will be looking to play for their fans who have provided the team with immense support so far at AFCON 2023.
Morocco v South Africa
World Cup 2022 semifinalists Morocco will be looking to show their dominance in the continent as well but with an overall improvement in the game of football in Africa, the script has not gone according to plan as their opponents the Bafana Bafana of South Africa have shown how serious they are at AFCON 2023 with their form and results in the group stage so far.
All eyes will be on this fixture as whoever wins might be poised to make an entry in the semifinals, if possible finals of AFCON 2023, too.
Every round of 16 fixture of AFCON 2023 is a must-watch for neutrals who enjoy good football as Africa is slowly positioning itself as a major player in the world of football today.