The AFCON 2023 tournament got underway in Cote d’Ivoire over the past week and we have already seen some standout results, several individual performances, and some underwhelming outcomes in games.
Generally, it has been a great opening week as games were played from Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara, where the opening fixture between hosts Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau, to Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Stade Charles Konan Banny, Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Stade Laurent Pokou and Stade de la paix de Bouaké.
The Elephants of Ivory Coast got off to a flying start with a comfortable 2-0 win over the Wild Dogs. Among the heavyweights that failed to win their opening group game were Nigeria, Egypt, and Ghana who lost to Cape Verde, Algeria, and Tunisia who also lost to first-time winners at this stage of the tournament Namibia.
Upsets. Drama. New chapters.
5 days into the AFCON 2023 & it has been a whirlwind. End-to-end action. What has stood out for you?
Cape Verde stun Ghana 2-1
Namibia surprise Tunisia 1-0
Equatorial Guinea hold Nigeria 1-1
10-man Guinea hold Cameroon 1-1
Mozambique hold Egypt 2-2 pic.twitter.com/w5FzDep5o8
— Usher Komugisha (@UsherKomugisha) January 18, 2024
As a result of the above, we want to look at 7 of the stars of match day 1 of the ongoing AFCON 2023 tournament.
7 stars who impressed on match day 1 of the AFCON 2023
Seko Fofana (Cote d’Ivoire)
Fofana was head and shoulders above everyone in that opening game. He took charge of the midfield, dictating play and easily combining with fellow midfielders Ibrahim Sangare and Franck Kessie.
He scored the tournament’s first goal with an emphatic finish and was involved in the build-up to the second goal. The former Lens captain was superb and rightly named the man of the match after the game.
Jesus Owono (Equatorial Guinea)
The Alaves goalkeeper made some huge saves in the game to help his side avoid defeat against Nigeria. He denied Victor Osimhen on multiple occasions including a near post save on Moses Simon in the opening half.
Owono, who spoke glowingly about being at the AFCON and ready to perform before the game, gave a good account of himself against the Super Eagles.
Lamine Camara (Senegal)
The young prodigy came to the fore and delivered on his AFCON debut for the defending champions. He scored a brace as the Teranga Lions opened their campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win over the Gambia.
Alexander Djiku (Ghana)
The defensive stalwart may have lost with the Black Stars to Cape Verde, but he stood out with a solid defensive display. He also got his side’s only goal during the game.
Lloyd Kazapua (Namibia)
The 34-year-old goalkeeper kept his side in the game with his breathtaking saves before Deon Hotto grabbed the game’s only goal late on. Kazapua had a fine game and has been listed as one of our top stars for the round.
Kamory Doumbia (Mali)
Doumbia was everywhere in that opening game against South Africa. He grabbed an assist for the second goal and was on from the start to the finish as the Eagles defeated Bafana Bafana in Korhogo.
Azzedine Ounahi (Morocco)
Ounahi was superb as the Atlas Lions strolled past Tanzania in one of the final games of the round. The Marseille midfielder got the game’s second goal before he was subbed off after another disciplined performance in midfield.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago