AFCON semis: Nigeria, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, DR Congo Battle for 2 Final spots

Then, there were four. Semi-finalists Nigeria, South Africa, hosts Cote d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo will on Wednesday, be vying for the two final spots in the 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, (AFCON), Cote d’Ivoire 2023.

All four teams are previous winners of the AFCON. Nigeria (three-time champions), DR Congo (twice champions), while South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire have one AFCON title respectively.

Interestingly, all the top five FIFA-ranked team in Africa are out of the AFCON: Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt. Nigeria’s Super Eagles have also qualified for their 16th AFCON semi-final.

Semi-final fixtures:

  • Nigeria vs South Africa (Stade de la Paix, Bouake, 5pm)
  • Cote d’Ivoire vs DR Congo (Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan, 8pm)

In this article, Cafonline.com analyses the uniqueness of each team.


The Super Eagles stand as the most experienced team at this stage. Making their 16th appearance in a TotalEnergies CAF AFCON semi-final, Nigeria aim for one thing – securing a spot in the final. Despite entering the tournament as favorites, Nigeria faced challenges, notably with a drawn match against Equatorial Guinea. While the focus was on their attacking prowess, the defence proved resilient, conceding only one goal.

Key Stat: José Peseiro’s men are the only team to reach the semi-final without playing extra time.

DR Congo

Anticipation met reality as the Democratic Republic of Congo secured its first victory in the CAF TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Ivory Coast 2023. Facing Guinea in the quarterfinals, the Leopards displayed strength, overcoming an early goal by the Syli National to win 3-1. This victory marks the fifth time in the history of DR Congo that they have reached the semi-finals of the Cup of Nations.

Key Stat: Whenever DR Congo won the CAN in 1968 and 1974, they eliminated the host country in the semi-final. In 1968, they beat Ethiopia 2-3 after extra time, and in 1974, Egypt fell by the same scoreline.

Côte d’Ivoire

January 22, 2024, witnessed the Elephants making headlines globally. Almost eliminated after a 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea, they bounced back, eliminating the reigning African champions, Senegal. In a dramatic victory against Mali, Oumar Diakité’s last-minute goal secured their place in the semi-finals. In their ninth semi-final appearance, Côte d’Ivoire faces DR Congo, setting the stage for a rematch of the 2015 semi-final where the Elephants emerged victorious with a 3-1 scoreline in Bata, Equatorial Guinea.

Key Stat: Côte d’Ivoire won their first Cup of Nations match in extra time since the 1992 quarterfinals, which they eventually won.

South Africa

Bafana Bafana returns to the pinnacle, ending a 24-year absence from the Cup of Nations semi-finals. The South Africans impressed, eliminating Morocco, a World Cup semi-finalist, and then adding Cape Verde, previously unbeaten. Their journey continues in the semi-finals, where they face familiar foes.

Key Stat: In their last semi-final appearance, South Africa suffered a 2-0 loss to Nigeria in 2000.


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