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AFCON 2023 Begins!  –Odegbami

AFCON 2023 Begins!  –Odegbami

For the next 4 weeks, this page will be dedicated to special reports on the Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON 2023.

The biggest and most followed single sports event on the African continent kicks off today in the West African country of Cote D’Ivoire.

It is referred to as ‘AFCON 2023’ even though it holds in 2024 because it was supposed to have taken place in 2023 but was postponed. The Confederation of African Football, CAF, retained the official title in order not to distort the biennial arrangement. The next championship will take place in the summer of 2025.

For the first time, the championship will have an expanded number of 24 African countries that will assemble to celebrate friendship and the greatest single sports event on the African continent. There will be 52 matches in all showcasing the best football on the continent. The championship started in 1963 and this is the 34th edition.

Also Read: How AfroSport Secured Exclusive Rights To Broadcast AFCON 2023 For Free Across Nigeria!

Beyond Football.
Football is what is projected on the surface. Most attention is riveted on the best players, exciting matches and legendary teams. But beneath all of that, to more discerning minds, is a whole planet of other exciting events, people and places that equally define the people of the environment – culturally, economically, socially, and even diplomatically.
It is another exciting world to explore, illuminating AFCON 2023’s uniqueness in stories of Cote d’Ivoire that are the history of the country beneath the football exterior.

I am, therefore, observing AFCON 2023 through very experienced eyes. I will tell the story beyond the football that everyone will, of course, religiously follow on television, radio and online, starting with a roadshow.


Nigeria can win AFCON 2023

This is how!
A tree will have to make a forest.

Victor Osimhen can (and will) make a big difference to the fortunes of the Super Eagles at AFCON 2023.
That’s a big statement because he has not made the sort of impact when he plays for Nigeria as he regularly does playing for his clubside Napoli in Italy.

Considering how poorly the Eagles have been playing immediately preceding the start of this championship, the pressure of too-high an expectation may not affect them.

That’s what happened when the team went to Atlanta in 1996 after appalling pre-Olympics matches. They went on to win the country’s greatest football achievement to date – the Gold Medal of the Atlanta Olympic Games.

Also Read: AFCON 2023 On My Mind –Odegbami

When Nigerian teams have their backs against the wall, they fight back. AFCON 23 provides another platform to demonstrate that myth.

Forget about the coach. He will not add anything to the team. He will only take away with his poor tactics and inability to deploy the players he has well enough.

He has Victor Osimhen, the best striker in Africa at the moment, as his trump card.
Osimhen badly needs a coach who knows his onions now. He must be his own coach and must play deliberately to conserve his energy by doing less unproductive runs, and more of what he does best – burying the ball behind goalkeepers. In the Nigerian team, he does too much unproductive running; back to defend, to collect the ball and turn before running at defenders and so on.

That’s why he does not do well enough in the Eagles team.

He should conserve his energy and sharpness for critical times and dangerous areas of opposing defences where his assets are most needed his heading and shooting skills, and his quickness and power. He should add to this calmness, concentration and confidence.

Simply put, take away some of his defensive roles, let him focus on running at spaces and behind defenders to receive passes, and concentrate on finishing clinically in front of goal.

Also Read – AFCON 2023: ‘Bring The Trophy Home’ — Sanwo-Olu Charges Super Eagles

I shall not go into other technical matters in order not to spoil the appetite of Nigerians with how poorly a squad of great individual players is playing disjointed and unorganised football.

Add a few other simple organisation strategies to the above and I see Nigeria struggle a bit through the group matches with two wins and a draw that will keep them in Abidjan, a good win in the round of 16, and then tougher but successful matches to the finals.

All of this requires the adoption of a simple strategy for the team, playing with confidence and without being in a hurry, not rushing blindly to score goals and leaving yawns in their own defences.

The Super Eagles may surprise even themselves, with Victor Osimhen playing the key role of delivering the ‘poison’. In his case, one tree will make all the difference!


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  • Sportradio88.0 fm 3 months ago

    Eagles are just like fine girls with no character. Probably the fault of the mother..and father..
    So in this case the fault of nff and the wife ie coach .lol

  • respect is reciprocal 3 months ago

    These Eagles will fight all the way to the final God helping. I see them imbibing the spirit of war . I see them carrying their guns and shooting all enemies on sight . They shall surprise the whole world . Osi will lead in the battle front mark my words this is the revelation I saw today. Tomorrow’s match we win by 1 nil.

  • Ayphillydegreat 3 months ago

    “For the first time, the championship will have an expanded number of 24 African countries that will assemble to celebrate friendship and the greatest single sports event on the African continent. 
    This is not the first time the tournament will have 24 teams.”

    The first time was in Cameroon 2021 that was played in Jan/Feb 2022.

    I think the timing of this tournament is an eyesore. If all our players are playing on the African continent that is understandable. Most African powerhouses have players scattered all over Europe. 

    Now there’s another AFCON next summer in Morocco then again the next one after that might be in another bad climate territory that will be postponed to Jan/Feb to disrupt European calendar again. 

    I think any country that can not stage the tournament in the summer should be stripped off the hosting rights. I don’t want to hear the nonsense of raining season. If you can not stage the AFCON in the summer foggerrabouit. 

    • Ayphillydegreat 3 months ago

      **PS the first time was actually in Egypt 2019 that the tournament was expanded to 24 teams*** I believe it was just a typo error from the auditor. 

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