ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire – Nigeria will be playing in the semi-finals of the CAF AFCON for the 16th time, joining the Pharaohs at the top of the list of countries with the most appearances in the last four of the competition.
The Super Eagles secured their ticket to the semi-finals of the CAF AFCON Côte d’Ivoire 2023 after a 1-0 win over Angola through Ademola Lookman’s strike.
For the 16th time in 20 appearances, Nigeria is in the semi-finals of the competition, equaling a record set by Egypt, who has also reached the last four 16 times in 26 appearances.
Behind these record-holders, Ghana comes third with 14 semi-finals played in 24 appearances.
Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire have each reached the semi-finals of Africa football’s showpiece event 10 times.
Nigeria, however, has only lifted the trophy three times, with Egypt winning it 7 times as the record holders, followed by Cameroon who have won it 5 times, and Ghana with 4 trophies.
On Wednesday, 7th February 2024, Jose Peseiro and his men will face South Africa to play in the semi-finals with hopes of qualifying for their 8th final of the competition, one less than Ghana, two less than Egypt, and one more than Cameroon.
Egypt, on Monday, sacked Portuguese coach Rui Vitoria, a week after their disappointing last-16 exit at the AFCON.
Vitoria’s deal was supposed to run until the 2026 World Cup but Egypt’s dismal Cup of Nations campaign, which culminated in a shootout loss to the Democratic Republic of Congo following a 1-1 draw last Sunday, brought a premature end to his tenure.
The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) said the 53-year-old and his entire backroom staff had been relieved of their duties. It also said that Mohamed Youssef, a former coach of Al-Ahly who led the Egyptian giants to the African Champions League title in 2013, would take over on an interim basis.
“The association will also study the CVs of (some) foreign coaches,” the EFA added in a statement.
“The Board of Directors of the Egyptian Football Association, following a meeting to discuss the administrative and technical reports of the national team’s participation at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Côte d’Ivoire, have decided to say thank you to the Portuguese coach Vitoria and his staff,” read an EFA statement.
Vitoria was named Egypt’s technical coach in 2022, inheriting a side reeling from a drastic slump in form that followed their run to the Cup of Nations final in Cameroon a few months earlier.
Things initially looked promising, with Egypt showing marked improvement in attack and comfortably booking their place at the Cup of Nations finals in Côte d’Ivoire. They also won their opening two games of the World Cup qualifiers.
“We are studying the biographies of foreign coaches, and they will be presented at the next meeting,” the statement continued according to Reuters. “A foreign technical director will be selected and the rest of the staff will be formed.”
However, they produced some lacklustre displays in Côte d’Ivoire, making it to the last 16 by virtue of three straight 2-2 draws before DR Congo ended their hopes of winning a record-extending eighth Cup of Nations title.
Vitoria became the latest casualty of the tournament, following the departures of Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi, Gambia’s Tom Saintfiet, Ghana’s Chris Hughton, Tunisia’s Jalel Kadri, Tanzania’s Adel Amrouche and Côte d’Ivoire boss Jean-Louis Gasset.