CAF 2023 Preview
Now that the World Cup is a couple months in the rear view and club football has ramped back up full time, let's look forward for CAF International Competitions for the next year!
The major focus for African teams this year will be finishing qualifying for AFCON 2023 (although this tournament has been officially postponed until 2024). It will be hosted by the Ivory Coast, and thus they are the only auto-qualified team for the competition.
Unsurprisingly, Morocco are by far the most favored team to emerge from AFCON qualifying. Part of this is due to their spot atop the CAF Elo rankings due to their dream semifinals run in Qatar, and part is due to a relatively weak group and 2-0 record in qualifying already.
The rest of the teams heavily favored to advance to AFCON shouldn't be a huge surprise either. African powerhouses Algeria, Cameroon, and Senegal would be sorely missed at the continental championship.
Teams to watch will be would-be powerhouses who don't have a long history of continental success, but will be looking towards 2026 World Cup qualifying (where CAF has 9 + 1/3 spots, as compared to the previous 5) to make a statement. These are teams like Burkina Faso, Mali, Gabon, Cabo Verde, and Zambia.
Here are the current outlooks on a group-by-group basis:
Notable groups with fights for 2nd place are Group C (Nambia / Burundi), Group D (Guinea / Ethiopia), Group F (Uganda / Tanzania), and Group G (Gambia / Congo). The remaining groups would contain a surprise if any other team out of the top 2 favorites got into qualification.