The 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) is set to commence today in Ivory Coast, marking the biennial gathering of the top nations on the continent for a feast of uniquely African footballing flair and skill that showcases the abundant talent produced between the Cape and Cairo.
The tournament has seen tremendous growth in recent years, and continues to establish itself as one of the most significant events in the world of football.
Under the leadership of CAF President, Dr. Patrice Motsepe, the commercial success of Afcon has reached new heights, attracting widespread praise and support. Commercial partners and TV rights holders have also seen huge returns on their investments from Africa’s largest showpiece.
One of the most notable developments that will be seen in Afcon this year is the increase in the number of participating teams, from 16 to 24, which has broadened the scope of the tournament and heightened its competitive nature for all the countries. This expansion has not only provided opportunities for more African countries to perform on the big stage, but has also boosted the overall excitement and anticipation among fans in all 54 countries and beyond the African borders.
Another remarkable improvement is the significant increase in prize money, which intensifies the incentive for teams to perform at their best. This not only reflects the growing commercial success of the tournament but also highlights a commitment to rewarding and supporting the development of football in Africa. The winners of this year’s tournament will pocket US$7m – which is in the region of R130m.
Jessica Motaung, a prominent figure in African football in her role as a Deputy Chairperson of the CAF’s African Club Association (ACA) and a member of CAF’s Organising Committee for Women’s Football, as well as the Marketing and Commercial Director of Kaizer Chiefs, praised the CAF leadership, the tournament’s Organising Committee and the commercial wing of CAF for doing a splendid job in making sure that the tournament in Ivory Coast is a success.
“On behalf of Kaizer Chiefs, I would like to extend our best wishes to CAF as it hosts the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast. It's a significant moment for the continent, and we are thrilled to witness this exciting event,” she says, adding, “The build-up to the tournament has been nothing short of exhilarating, and we anticipate that this edition will be one of the best that CAF has ever hosted. There's an electrifying sense of unpredictability surrounding the matches, making it a truly captivating and thrilling experience for fans and players alike.”
Ms. Motaung, who is currently in Ivory Coast for the tournament, further offered her well-wishes to the South African national team, affectionately known as Bafana Bafana. She called upon all South Africans to get behind the national team by wearing their colours no matter which local team they support. She also shared similar sentiments for the teams that form the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA), as she underscored the unity and camaraderie that the Afcon tournament fosters among countries from the southern regions of the mother continent.
“We also support our player, Edmilson Dove, as he flies the Amakhosi flag high at the tournament with his team, Mozambique. We love seeing our guys do well and wish him and the Mambas, our COSAFA neighbours, all the best,” she says.
The ongoing progression of football in Africa has been a focal point of Afcon's evolution.
With each edition of the tournament, the game has continued to thrive, attracting talent and investment while inspiring a new generation of footballers across the continent, as Ms. Motaung acknowledges with approval: “CAF's continuous efforts to enhance the presentation and commercialisation of its competitions have not gone unnoticed. We recognise the hard work made by the organisation and we are excited to see the strides taken to elevate the competition to new heights. Ivory Coast holds a special place in the history of AFCON as it hosts the tournament for the second time, marking a significant milestone for the nation and the competition as a whole,” she says.
Additionally, just in time for the start of Afcon 2024, Kaizer Chiefs have proudly entered into an exciting new partnership with SuperSportBet, a leading name in the sports betting industry, to become the Club’s official betting partner. This fantastic collaboration gives supporters a chance to participate in the game and stand a chance of winning big while enjoying the Afcon spectacle. While watching the games on SuperSport throughout the continent, we urge supporters to go to www.supersportbet.com and register.
As the Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in Ivory Coast, it stands as a beacon of the growing influence and success of African football, signaling a promising future for the sport in the region.
All the best to the participating nations, but more so to Bafana Bafana.
Let’s all enjoy the 52 quality games.