·9 September 2023
·9 September 2023
The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will be held in the Ivory Coast at the start of 2024 with the hope of improving upon the previous edition of the tournament.
Senegal defeated Egypt in a penalty shootout to win the nation's first-ever continental title but the tournament was overshadowed by the Olembe Stadium tragedy which claimed the lives of eight people in a crush outside the ground.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe claimed that the 2023 AFCON "will be the best" in the history of a competition which dates back to 1957.
Here's everything you need to know about the qualification process for this continental contest.
Unlike its European counterpart, which is confusingly entangled with the UEFA Nations League, qualification for the 2023 AFCON is very straight forward.
After a preliminary round of two-legged fixtures between the 12 lowest-ranked teams in the federation, 48 nations were split into 12 groups of four. Each team played every opponent in their group twice - once on home soil and again on the road - collecting three points for a win, one for a draw and none if they lost.
The two nations that topped the mini-table of each group booked their place for the competition proper, eliminating the need for play-offs.
Kenya and Zimbabwe were both disqualified before the qualification process got underway while serving FIFA suspensions owing to "undue interference by a third party".
Qualification for the finals in the Ivory Coast began 19 months before the opening game of the actual tournament.
The qualifying games were split across six matchdays, beginning in June 2022 before wrapping up in September 2023.
Group A fixtures
Group B fixtures
Group C fixtures
Group D fixtures
Group E fixtures
Group F fixtures
Group G fixtures
Group H fixtures
Group I fixtures
Group J fixtures
Group K fixtures
Group L fixtures
Confusingly enough, AFCON 2023 begins in 2024. The tournament was originally scheduled for the Northern Hemisphere summer of 2023 but had to be pushed back to avoid the Ivory Coast rainy season. "We cannot take the risk," Motsepe warned.
The rescheduled tournament will instead take place between 13 January and 11 February 2024, right in the middle of the 2023/24 club season for most of Europe.