AFCON 2023 team of the tournament

AFCON 2023 team of the tournament
Photo by Icon Sport

AFCON 2023 has come and gone, with the Ivorians in a euphoric mood after winning their third AFCON at the expense of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

There are plenty of positives from the tournament, with the highlight being the level and quality of officiating calling into question officiating in Europe.

The officiating may not be 100%, but there were a few complaints from the team.

The players also conducted themselves well, with several players showing their qualities and putting themselves in the shop window.

Here is our AFCON 2023 team of the tournament.

AFCON 2023 Team of the Tournament

Emilio Nsue (Equatorial Guinea)

Emilio Nsue AFCON 2023 topscorer
Photo by Icon Sport

How can one draw up a team from AFCON 2023 and not include the Equatorial Guinea captain and striker – Emilio Nsue?

The striker surprised many at the tournament. He led his team to the round of 16 and scored five goals from four matches to emerge as the top scorer.

Perhaps if he had scored the penalty against Guinea in the round of 16, Equatorial Guinea would have gone further in the tournament.

Gelson Dala (Angola)

The Palancas Negras of Angola shone like a million stars as they reached the quarter-final for the first time.

Gelson Dala and his strike partner Mabululu were perhaps the deadliest partnership at AFCON 2023, scoring 70% of Angola's goals.

Gelson Dala scored four goals to finish joint second top scorer with Mostafa Mohamed of Egypt.

He scored a fine brace against Cape Verde in the round of 16.

Simon Adingra (Ivory Coast)

Simon Adingra was a positive influence on the Elephants of Ivory Coast. Following their qualification to the round of 16, he gave defenders plenty of problems, including Nigeria in the final.

He was integral to the success of Ivory Coast and created the assist for Sebastien Haller's winning goal against Nigeria.

He also won the Young Player of the Tournament award.

Franck Kessie (Ivory Coast)

Franck Kessie AFCON 2023 midfielder
Photo by Icon Sport

Franck Kessie was a rejuvenated man in the knockout stages of AFCON 2023. He pushed the Ivorian team as they knocked out favourites Senegal and beat Nigeria in the final.

Kessie scored two goals to help the Ivorian cause.

Teboho Mokoena (South Africa)

Teboho Mokoena was the engine room for Bafana Bafana at AFCON 2023.

The Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder kept the team ticking and scored two goals in the tournament.

One of his goals was a magnificent free kick against tournament favourites Morocco in the round of 16.

He also missed two penalties in the shootouts against Nigeria and DR Congo.

Frank Onyeka (Nigeria)

Frank Onyeka was a dominant force for the Super Eagles as they produced some of the best defensive performances by a team in a long while.

He quietly did his job of screening his defence as Nigeria kept four clean sheets.

Calvin Bassey (Nigeria)

Playing in a back-three for the Super Eagles, Calvin Bassey justified his inclusion in the team as he covered for Zaidu Sanusi on many occasions.

Bassey kept dropping to left-back and defended solidly for his side. Little got past him as he churned out several brilliant defensive displays.

Bassey also created the assist for Ademola Lookman's winning goal against Cameroon.

Achraf Hakimi (Morocco)

Achraf Hakimi has no equal at AFCON 2023. Morocco may have bowed out to Bafana Bafana in the round of 16. The only minus for him was his penalty miss against South Africa.

He was solid defensively and offensively and scored a goal.

William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria)

William Troost-Ekong wins MVP of AFCON 2023
Photo by Icon Sport

William Troost-Ekong scored three goals at the tournament and was the top-scoring defender at AFCON 2023.

He was a leader and commander for the Super Eagles and was critical to their four clean sheets.

The performances by the PAOK defender earned him the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, showing how immense he was.

Mothobi Mvala (South Africa)

Mothobi Mvala was solid at the back for Bafana Bafana. He contests his place in the team with Grant Kekana. Kekana's red card against Nigeria lost him the place.

Mvala was a dominant force for South Africa and was instrumental to their five clean sheets at AFCON 2023.

Ronwen Williams (South Africa)

Ronwen Williams saving a penalty during AFCON 2023
Credit: Icon Sport

What else can one say about Ronwen Williams? He kept five clean sheets and was the hero in the penalty shootout against Cape Verde and DR Congo.

He made several top saves and won the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award.

AFCON 2023 Team of the Tournament: Honourable mentions

Stanley Nwabali (Nigeria), Grant Kekana (South Africa), Ounahi (Morocco), Ghislain Konan (Ivory Coast), Ademola Lookman (Nigeria), Mostafa Mohamed (Egypt)

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 week ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.