An exhilarating month filled with thrilling competition as the top talents from across Africa convened for the continent’s premier tournament. Ivory Coast’s hosting of the African Cup of Nations will be celebrated as one of the most memorable events in its history.
In this article, we take a look at all award winners at the just ended 2023 African Cup of Nations Tournament .
Ivory Coast – The Elephants of La Cote D’Ivoire staged an epic comeback to secure victory on home turf, claiming the gold medal in the 34th edition of the AFCON. Despite a challenging start in Group A against Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea Bissau, they rallied to qualify as one of the best third-placed teams. Their journey to the final included thrilling wins over Senegal and Mali in penalty shootouts, culminating in a tense 1-0 victory against the Democratic Republic of Congo in the semi-finals. In a dramatic final showdown against Nigeria, they once again overturned a deficit to triumph 2-1, inscribing their names in history as champions.
Nigeria – The Super Eagles of Nigeria clinched the silver medal in the AFCON 2023 tournament, falling short of gold as they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against host Ivory Coast in the final match. Despite a mixed start in Group A with a draw against Equatorial Guinea followed by victories over Guinea Bissau and Ivory Coast, Nigeria advanced to the final stage. Their journey included a 2-0 win against Cameroon in the Round of 16 and a narrow 1-0 victory over Angola in the Quarter Finals. The semi-final clash against South Africa tested their resolve, ending in a 1-1 draw before Nigeria prevailed in a penalty shootout. However, in the final showdown against Ivory Coast, despite taking an early lead, Nigeria conceded two goals, ultimately securing the bronze medal in the 2023 AFCON.
South Africa – Surprisingly, the Bafana Bafana of South Africa secured the bronze medal at the AFCON 2023. They advanced from Group E with 4 points, clinching a win against Namibia and drawing against Tunisia. Their journey included a notable 2-0 victory against Morocco in the Round of 16 and a hard-fought 1-0 win via a penalty shootout against Cape Verde in the Quarter Final. Although they were halted by Nigeria in the Semi Final, losing in another penalty shootout, they showcased resilience to claim third place by defeating the Democratic Republic of Congo in the playoff game
Dr. Congo – The Democratic Republic of Congo secured the 4th position in the AFCON 2023 tournament. Despite finishing second in Group F with just three points from three draws, they stunned Egypt in a penalty shootout to advance to the quarter-finals. A remarkable 3-1 victory over Guinea propelled them into the semi-finals, where they faced eventual champions Ivory Coast, suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat. Despite their efforts, they were unable to overcome South Africa in the 3rd place playoff, settling for the 4th position in the tournament.
William Troost Ekong – William Troost Ekong, the captain of the Super Eagles, led Nigeria to the AFCON 2023 final with his stellar performance, contributing three goals along the way. Despite scoring the opening goal in the final, his team ultimately fell short as the Elephants emerged victorious. Nonetheless, Ekong’s exceptional efforts throughout the tournament earned him the prestigious Best Player of the Tournament Award, highlighting his invaluable contribution
Ronwen Williams –
At 32 years old, Ronwen Williams, the goalkeeper for Mamelodi Sundowns, clinched the Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament Award. Throughout the competition, Williams showcased his prowess by keeping five clean sheets in seven games. His remarkable skill in saving penalty kicks played a crucial role in his team’s achievement of winning the Bronze medal, defeating Dr. Congo in the third-place play-off via a penalty shootout
Emilio Nsue – Emilio Nsue, the 34-year-old attacker and captain of Equatorial Guinea, showcased his scoring prowess in the 2023 African Cup of Nations, clinching the Top Scorer award with an impressive five goals. Among his notable performances, he secured a hat-trick against Guinea Bissau during the group stage and added two more goals against host nation Ivory Coast. Despite his remarkable contribution, his team was eliminated from the competition in the Round of 16 by Guinea, following a narrow 1-0 defeat.
Simon Adingra – The talented 22-year-old Ivorian player clinched the Young Best Player of the Tournament Award for his outstanding performance. His decisive assist in the crucial match against Nigeria paved the way for Sebastian Haller’s winning goal, leading the host nation to clinch the AFCON 2023 trophy. Formerly associated with the Right to Dream Academy and FC Nordsjaelland, he now showcases his skills as a player for Brighton and Hove Albion.
Best Coach – Emerse Fae, the 40-year-old Ivorian Assistant Coach, earned recognition as the best coach of the 2023 African Cup of Nations. Initially appointed as the Caretaker Coach following the dismissal of head coach Jean Louis Gasset, Fae rejuvenated the Ivorian team’s spirits. His leadership guided the team to a crucial victory over Senegal in the Round of 16, ultimately culminating in a triumphant trophy win on home soil..
Fair Play Award- South Africa’s national team, the Bafana Bafana, was honored with the Fair Play award following the tournament. Their commendable sportsmanship was evident as they secured third place by defeating the Democratic Republic of Congo, clinching the bronze medal.