NIGERIA, Mali and the host nation of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Cote d’Ivoire, are currently the three top-ranked African countries by the Confederation of African (CAF), the ICIR check reveals.
According to the CAF ranking, the top ten countries include; Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali and Ivory Coast.
Despite being rated the best on the continent, seven of these countries have bowed out of the ongoing continental football showpiece.
Egypt and Senegal played in the final of the 2021 edition of the tournament, which Senegal won.
Similarly, Morocco, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Tunisia reached the quarterfinal stage of the competition.
However, the ongoing AFCON tournament is witnessing dramatic eliminations of some of these strong footballing nations and giving hope for a new champion to emerge.
As the quarter-final knockout stage begins tomorrow, Friday, February 2, the eight teams that advanced into the phase include Nigeria, Côte D’Ivoire, Angola, Cape Verde, DR Congo, Guinea, Mali and South Africa.
The quest to secure a spot in the semi-finals will begin between Nigeria’s Super Eagles, who will slug it out with Angola’s Palancas Negras, ranked 20 by CAF at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan at 6.00 p.m.
DR Congo, ranked 13th, defeated Egpyt via penalty shootout 8-7 after a 1-1 draw in regular time, which will square up against Guinea, ranked 15th.
Other matches that will be played on Saturday, February 3, will see Mali face Côte d’Ivoire at the Stade de la Paix Bouake stadium at 6.00pm.
Also, Cape Verde, who narrowly sailed through a 1-0 victory against Mauritania, will battle South Africa at the Stade Charles Konan Banny de Yamoussoukro at 9.00pm.
Nigeria vs Angola (Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan by 6.00pm.)
DR Congo vs Guinea (Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe at 9.00pm.)
Mali vs Côte d’Ivoire (Stade de la paix Bouake at 6.00pm.)
Cape Verde vs South Africa (Stade Charles Konan Banny de Yamoussoukro at 9.00pm.