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2023 AFCON: Prize money, stadiums, other interesting facts about Africa football fiesta

Once again, Africa is set to show the world its best talents, culture, and passion for the game of football as the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) takes centre stage in Côte d’Ivoire this weekend.

As the best 24 African teams converge in Côte d’Ivoire for the AFCON 2023, Guardian Nigeria takes a look at interesting facts ahead of the one-month football fiesta.

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations to be staged in Côte d’Ivoire will be the 34th edition since the inaugural tournament in 1957.

This year’s tournament will run from 13 January to 11 February 2024 in five host cities and six stadiums.

READ ALSO: Ahmed Musa confident Nigeria can win 2023 AFCON

The five host cities are Abidjan, Bouake, Korhogo, San-Pedro and Yamoussoukro.

Two stadiums are in Abidjan and they are Alassane Ouattara (60,000 capacity) and Felix Houphouet Boigny (33,000 capacity).

Bouake has the 40,000-capacity Stade de la Paix, in Korhogo there Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium (20,000 capacity), Laurent Pokou Stadium (20,000 capacity) in San-Pedro and the Charles Konan Banny Stadium (20,000 capacity) in Yamoussoukro.

Alassane Ouattara Stadium will host both the opening game and final.

This is the second time Côte d’Ivoire are host the Africa Cup of Nations after first doing so in 1984 which was won by Cameroon.

For the 2023 edition, 24 teams qualified with no debutant nation for the first time since the 2015 edition held in Equatorial Guinea.

Teranga Lions of Senegal are the reigning champions after landing their first title following a penalty shootout win against Egypt at the AFCON 2021 in Cameroon.

The 2023 competition has six groups with four teams in each of the groups and two teams will qualify automatically from each group to the round of 16.

Also, four best third-placed teams from any of the groups have the opportunity to qualify for the knockout round.

The opening game will be between hosts Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau from Group A on Saturday, 13 January, inside the 60,000 capacity Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles will kickoff their campaign against Equatorial Guinea on Sunday, 14 January inside the Alassane Ouattara Stadium.

On Thursday, 18 January, inside the Alassane Ouattara Stadium, the Eagles will face Côte d’Ivoire.

Then on Monday, 22 January, the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium will play host to the Eagles’ last group game against Guinea-Bissau.

Five teams have been tipped as the favourites for this year’s tournament, they are hosts Côte d’Ivoire, champions Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt.

Meanwhile, Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Thursday, 4 January, announced a 40% increase in the prize money for the winner of AFCON 2023.

The winner of this year’s tournament will now receive $7 million from the initial $5 million and the runner-up will get $4 million instead of $2.7 million.

Each of the two semi-finalist will receive $2.5 million and for the quarter-finalists, each of the four teams will get $1.3 million.

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