2023 Africa Cup of Nations: A tournament of victories, fouls, and records broken

Published on: 12 February 2024
2023 Africa Cup of Nations: A tournament of victories, fouls, and records broken

The 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) showcased the pinnacle of African football prowess, witnessed across 52 thrilling encounters spread over six stadiums in Ivory Coast.

From January 13 to February 11, 24 nations battled it out, leaving an indelible mark with 118 goals, 163 yellow cards, and 13 red cards, containing the highs and lows of this prestigious tournament.

Notable statistics reveal the intensity of competition throughout the tournament. Equatorial Guinean striker Emilio Nsue emerged as the top scorer, netting 5 goals, and clinching the Afcon Top Scorer trophy. However, Ivory Coast and Cameroon found themselves on the receiving end, conceding the most goals, while Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, and Angola displayed formidable attacking prowess, collectively scoring 9 goals each.

The intensity of play was mirrored in the disciplinary statistics, with referees brandishing 163 yellow cards, notably 9 in a single clash between Mozambique and Ghana, officiated by Libyan referee Ibrahim Mutaz. Ivory Coast led the charts in yellow cards received, closely trailed by Nigeria and Burkina Faso.

Red cards, though fewer in number, added drama to the tournament, with thirteen players seeing an early exit, including Moroccan Sofyan Amrabat and Ivorians Oumar Diakité and Odilon Kossounou.

Penalties proved crucial, with 22 awarded and 17 successfully converted. Noteworthy was Ivorian goalkeeper Yahia Fofana's heroics in stopping one of the five missed penalties. Mozambique, however, suffered the most, conceding three penalty goals, while Burkinabé Bertrand Traoré showcased his prowess by slotting home the most penalties.

In the realm of defense, South Africa shone brightly, recording the highest number of clean sheets, with goalkeeper Ronwen Williams marshaling the backline to five shutouts in seven matches, closely followed by Nigeria's Stanley Nwabali with four clean sheets.