AFCON predictions – Dark horses for the crown

AFCON predictions – Dark horses for the crown
Credit: Icon Sport

In yet another look at AFCON predictions ahead of the tournament in Ivory Coast, we take a look at some of the teams who could lay claim to the title but are not considered to be favourites.

There are usually contenders, pretenders, and dark horses going into tournaments like this and the AFCON won’t be an exception.

Senegal are the defending champion of the competition but Morocco, who made great strides at the 2022 World Cup are considered to be the favourites for the competition.

Egypt, who were finalists in the last edition, also have a chance in Cote d’Ivoire.

This particular piece is set to discuss the dark horses in the competition and those teams who could go on to shock everyone. 

AFCON Predictions – Dark horses for the title

South Africa

South Africa won the tournament on home soil back in 1996 and since then they have not been able to regain their former glory.

Under Hugo Broos, Bafana Bafana went 12 games undefeated before falling to Rwanda in a FIFA World Cup qualifying encounter in November. They have a quite decent squad and they could cause a massive upset with the rich form and the fans will be hoping they do that.


Mali are also another side who have been close to winning the AFCON in 2012 and 2013 when they won back-to-back bronze medals. They have a relatively young squad and one capable of causing a massive upset at this level.

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Credit: Icon Sport

During the 2023 AFCON qualification, the Eagles were formidable, earning 15 points out of a possible 18 in Group G.

With that kind of form, they have been placed in group E alongside Namibia, South Africa, and Tunisia.


The Taifa Stars of Tanzania have been drawn in Group F alongside Morocco, DR Congo and Zambia. The side has been making gradual improvement over the last few years and they will be keen to make a mark in their third-ever AFCON appearance.

During the qualifiers, they held 2019 champions Algeria to a draw to secure qualification to the tournament. The exploits of Simba and Young Africans in CAF competitions have helped build the foundations for the national teams at this time.

With a young squad dominated by home-based players such as Feisal Salum who  has more than seven goals to his name in the Tanzanian topflight and will be looking to pull up a surprise against the big giants of Africa.


The Brave Warriors of Namibia are making their fourth appearance at the AFCON. Mamelodi Sundowns’ Peter Shalulile – who has 16 goals for the Warriors – will play a key part in this year’s AFCON tournament.

The team is led by head coach, Collin Benjamin, and they managed to qualify together with Cameroon ahead of Burundi and Kenya. The team, who have been drawn in Group E, will square off against South Africa, Tunisia and Mali. 

This particular group has been regarded as the toughest group in the competition and the Brave Warriors will be keen to have an amazing run like Comoros and Gambia did in 2021.

Burkina Faso

In the last decade, Burkina Faso have been one of the most consistent sides in this competition having come close to winning the AFCON crown, finishing second, third, and fourth in 2013, 2017, and 2021, respectively.

The Stallions will be hoping to go a step further and probably claim the title in Cote d’Ivoire at the expense of the big guns.

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

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