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Hosts, Nigeria, two others target AFCON final

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Nigeria, DR Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, and South Africa have secured their spots as the four AFCON semi-finalists in the 34th edition of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, hosted in Cote d’Ivoire in 2023.

Fueled by determination, passion, and surprising turns of events, the four nations emerged from a 24-team list divided into six groups that started the AFCON.

Twenty other nations so far have been eliminated from the tournament which started January 13 and will end February 11.

Here is the time and venue breakdown.

AFCON semi-finals matches:

1. Nigeria vs. South Africa

Date: Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Time: 6pm

Venue: Stade de Bouaké

2. Cote d’Ivoire vs. Congo DR

Date: Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Time: 9pm

Venue: Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara

AFCON interesting facts

The Super Eagles are the sole team to advance to the semi-finals without the need for extra time.

South Africa’s most recent semi-final outing ended in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Nigeria in 2000.

Also, on both occasions, when DR Congo clinched the CAN title in 1968 and 1974, they secured their spot in the final by eliminating the host country in the semi-final.

In 1968, a dramatic extra-time victory saw them triumph over Ethiopia with a 3-2 scoreline, while in 1974, they replicated the feat, overcoming Egypt by an identical scoreline.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria

In a compelling turn of events, the Super Eagles emerge as the most seasoned squad in the current phase.

Marking their impressive 16th appearance in a TotalEnergies CAF AFCON semi-final, Nigeria is laser-focused on one objective – clinching a coveted spot in the showdown.

Despite their pre-tournament favourite status, the journey was not without hurdles, notably a drawn match against Equatorial Guinea.

While the spotlight shone on their attacking prowess, the defensive line showcased remarkable resilience, conceding only one goal.

The Leopards of the DR Congo

In a riveting twist of fate, the Democratic Republic of Congo achieved a historic milestone in the CAF TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Ivory Coast 2023.

The long-awaited victory materialised as the Leopards faced Guinea in the quarterfinals, showcasing remarkable strength by bouncing back from an early goal by the Syli National to secure a triumphant 3-1 win.

This momentous triumph not only propels DR Congo into the semi-finals but also etches its name in history, marking the fifth occasion that the nation has reached this stage in the prestigious Cup of Nations.

The Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire

The Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire were on the brink of elimination following a staggering 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea in the group stage.

They orchestrated a remarkable comeback, stunning everyone by eliminating the reigning African champion, Senegal.

The dramatic victory against Mali unfolded with Oumar Diakité’s last-minute goal, securing Côte d’Ivoire’s coveted spot in the semi-finals.

In their ninth semi-final appearance, Côte d’Ivoire is now set to face DR Congo, creating an electric atmosphere and setting the stage for a compelling rematch of the 2015 semi-finals.

Notably, in that clash, the Elephants emerged victorious with a 3-1 scoreline in Bata, Equatorial Guinea.

Bafana Bafana of South Africa

In a triumphant comeback, Bafana Bafana have reclaimed the spotlight, breaking a 24-year hiatus from the AFCON semi-finals.

South Africa’s journey to this stage have been nothing short of spectacular, with notable victories over Morocco, a formidable World Cup semi-finalist, and Cape Verde, previously undefeated.

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