AFCON 2023: Will an underdog team emerge as champion?

    The round of 16 fixtures are already known, but there are some striking patterns in the fixtures.

    Do you realise that former champions have been paired together as opponents, while other fixtures had never champions clashing among themselves.

    The number one fixture do dear to many football loving Nigerians is the Super Eagles vs Indomitable Lions clash on Saturday.
    A battle of two former African champions, with 8 titles shared between them. Nigeria with 3 titles and Cameroon with 5 titles.

    Step into Angola vs Namibia game. A game between two teams that have never won AFCON. It then means that a team that never won AFCON will definitely play the quarter- finals.

    The same scenario will unfold when Equatorial Guinea tackle Guinea Conakry. Guinea with 14th appearances at the AFCON have never won the tournament.
    Irrespective of the outcome, another non- winner of AFCON will emerge at the quarter- finals.

    The cracker between Egypt and Congo DR. is a battle of two former champions. Egypt with 7 titles and Congo DR with 2 titles.
    Any which way, one former champion will bid the tournament bye.

    AFCON 2023: Will an underdog team emerge as champion? 3

    Just imagine Mauritania qualifying for quarter- final of AFCON 2023 and some former champions are heading home.
    This could become a reality, if the team can shock Cape Verde in their round of 16 clash. Though, I see Cape Verde beating Mauritania. What it means is that another never being a champion team will play at the quarter- final.

    Reigning champion, Senegal will file out against Ivory Coast, the tournament host and 2015 AFCON champions.
    For those thinking it will be a stroll in the park for the Teranga Lions at the expense of the Elephants.

    It is a 50-50 game, but the reality is that, a former champion or reign champion will crash out.

    Mali and Burkina Faso clash is an international derby cracker. It is also a battle of two teams that have never won the tournament. Whatever be the case, a team that never AFCON will be playing the quarter – final.
    African football followers should watch out for Mali in this tournament.

    Morocco, 1976 champions will take on South Africa, the 1996 champions. Another former champion will exit the tournament.

    What all these means is that, the tournament will then have four former champions and four wannabe champions remaining in the tournament at the quarter- finals.

    Will an underdog team, a wannabe champion go all the way to semi- finals, final and possibly win the tournament?

    Meanwhile, the patriotism in me will definitely wish the Super Eagles to go all the way and win the tournament in Ivory Coast.

    What are your thoughts?

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    AFCON 2023: Will an underdog team.emerge as champion?

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