Unveiling the Triumphs and Twists of The Africa Cup of Nations 2023

Khayran Noor

February 18, 2024


In this blog, we aim to illuminate the pivotal moments and overarching themes that defined the AFCON 2023.


The Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF), Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 in Ivory Coast has emerged as a spectacular showcase of football talent, marked by significant advancements in infrastructure, groundbreaking referee appointments, state-of-the-art stadiums, passionate fan support, and efficient event management.

In this blog, we aim to illuminate the pivotal moments and overarching themes that defined the AFCON 2023.

From showcasing standout performances that left spectators in awe to unravelling unexpected upsets that reshaped the tournament's narrative and navigating through the labyrinth of football brilliance, unveiling the key takeaways that made AFCON 2023 an unforgettable chapter in the rich tapestry of African football.

Infrastructure Development

One of the standout features of AFCON 2023 is the remarkable progress in infrastructure development.

Ivory Coast has invested heavily in upgrading stadiums, transportation, and accommodation facilities. The revamped infrastructure not only enhances the tournament experience for players and fans but also leaves a legacy for the country.

Thorough inspections were conducted on the stadiums chosen for AFCON 2023 to guarantee adherence to safety and security regulations. To give the teams the best possible playing conditions, these locations were outfitted with contemporary amenities like plenty of seats, artificial turf, and sophisticated lighting systems.

In addition to improving the experience for athletes and fans, stadium construction and renovations have helped Ivory Coast project an image as a dependable host for big athletic events. The stadiums are a testament to the nation's dedication to providing first-rate facilities that adhere to international standards.

State-of-the-Art Stadiums

The AFCON 2023 stadiums in Ivory Coast boast cutting-edge designs and facilities. These venues not only provide a world-class setting for the matches but also contribute to the overall fan experience. The upgraded stadiums have become symbols of modernisation and showcase Ivory Coasts capability to host major sporting events.

To meet international standards, the government made significant investments in building new stadiums and renovating old ones. For example, the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan has undergone major renovations to improve the viewing experience and increase capacity. In addition, the recently constructed Stade de la Paix in Bouake features cutting-edge amenities and has grown to represent pride in the country.

The diligent efforts invested in developing the infrastructure for AFCON 2023 in Ivory Coast are destined to leave a legacy, not only for the host nation but for upcoming athletic events, setting a compelling example for the next hosts of AFCON 2025 & 2027 in Morocco and East Africa respectively.

Diversity in Referee Appointment

A historic moment in the tournament was the groundbreaking appointment of the first hijabi woman as a referee. This move is a testament to the commitment of AFCON organisers to promote inclusivity and diversity in football. The pioneering referees presence adds a new dimension to the tournament, breaking barriers, and inspiring officials across the continent.

The seasoned referee, Ms. Aisha Mohammed has dispelled stereotypes by officiating games while donning a headscarf. Her appointment is a testament to the Ivory Coast Football Federation and CAF's dedication to advancing equal opportunities for women in football.

Effective Event Management

AFCON 2023 has been characterised by effective event management, ensuring smooth operations and a seamless tournament flow. From ticketing systems to security arrangements, organisers have implemented measures to guarantee a safe and enjoyable experience for all attendees. This professionalism has contributed to the tournament's success and positive reputation.

The management of the event has been commendable, characterised by meticulous preparation and seamless implementation. Thanks to these dedicated efforts, the event unfolded without a hitch, leaving all participants and attendees satisfied.

It is noteworthy that CAF encountered initial ticket printing issues on the first day, attributed to last-minute group purchases  of which they officially confirmed its responsibility for and promptly adapted to efficiently handle such requests.

The professional and well-organised handling of AFCON 2023 establishes a new benchmark for future competitions and validates Ivory Coast's ability to host major international athletic events.

Sponsorships and Endorsements

With their official partnership status, Unilever and TotalEnergies have provided brand exposure, marketing opportunities, and financial support to AFCON 2023. All parties' rights and obligations including those regarding the use of intellectual property are outlined in the sponsorship agreements.

TotalEnergies synchronises its brand with the prestige of the event, while Unilever takes advantage of AFCON's broad reach to engage fans through a variety of marketing initiatives.

This may include launching special edition products, running interactive social media campaigns, or organising fan-centric events. By tapping into the passion and loyalty of football enthusiasts during AFCON, Unilever maximises its brand exposure and fosters a deeper connection with consumers.

Major sport events like AFCON are made more successful overall and have a greater impact thanks to these strategic partnerships.

AFCON 2023 has also had broad global broadcast deals announced by CAF. TV-broadcasting rights holders from Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, North America, and the Caribbean are parties to these agreements; among them are well-known broadcasters like Sky, BBC, LaLiga+, and others. With partnerships with New World TV and about 45 free-to-air broadcasters, the tournament is being aired in about 180 countries. Over 6,000 media applications have been received, indicating the growing interest and demand from the media to cover the highly anticipated AFCON tournament. In addition to increasing the tournament's worldwide exposure and viewership, these collaborations and media appearances will help African football develop and flourish.

Fervent Fan Support

The tournament has witnessed fervent support from passionate fans, both local and international. The vibrant atmosphere in the stadiums reflects the deep love for football in the region.

Fan engagement initiatives, such as interactive fan zones and cultural events, have further enriched the overall for spectators.

As thousands of ardent supporters continue to pack the stadiums and create an incredible atmosphere. The fans' passion and commitment have enhanced the tournament's energy and made it an unforgettable event for all those taking part.

The enthusiasm of the Ivory Coast football fans is evident in their support, which also attests to the tournament's success. The vibrant and involved fan base adds to the excitement and general atmosphere surrounding AFCON 2023.

Legacy and Socio-Economic Impact

AFCON 2023 has had a major socioeconomic impact through ticket sales, merchandise revenue, heightened demand for hospitality services, direct foreign investment through infrastructure development, transportation improvement, media coverage and social media engagement, showcase of Ivory Coast rich culture through ceremonies and promotional campaigns.

This may leave a long-lasting legacy. The competition showcases the nation's rich cultural legacy, potential for tourism, and investment opportunities while increasing its visibility and exposure on a worldwide scale.

Beyond the competition, the nation will gain from the infrastructure development, which includes upgraded stadiums and better transportation systems, as well as long-term advantages for the sports and entertainment sectors.

Furthermore, AFCON 2023 encourages local companies, increases tourism, and fosters employment growth, all of which support Ivory Coast's general economic development.

Noteworthy Elements

Several other noteworthy elements have added to the charm of AFCON 2023. The inclusion of diverse cultural activities, community outreach programs, which contribute to the tournament's significance beyond the realm of football.

AFCON 2023 embraced a holistic approach, extending its charm beyond the football pitch through a tapestry of cultural activities and community outreach initiatives.

The tournament's prelude featured vibrant cultural festivals, where local traditions, music, and cuisine took centre stage, showcasing the rich diversity of Ivory Coast.

Collaborative art projects engaged communities in expressing their pride through public installations, educational initiatives brought the tournament into classrooms, fostering cross-cultural understanding among students, whilst health and wellness campaigns, along with environmental sustainability programs, underscored a commitment to the well-being of both communities and the environment and youth engagement programs through football clinics.

AFCON 2023 not only celebrated football prowess but also stood as a beacon of cultural exchange and community enrichment, emphasising the tournament's enduring significance.


The African Cup of Nations 2023 in Ivory Coast stands out as a testament to the continent's football prowess and its ability to host a world-class sporting event. The combination of advanced infrastructure, groundbreaking initiatives, passionate fan support, and effective event management has elevated AFCON 2023 to a memorable and impactful tournament. As competition progresses, it continues to inspire and unite football enthusiasts across Africa and beyond.

In conclusion, Ivory Coast's AFCON 2023 has made notable strides in the areas of infrastructural development, inclusivity, stadium quality, ardent fan support, effective event management, and the possibility of long-term socioeconomic impact.

These accomplishments demonstrate the Ivory Coast government's and football authorities' dedication to organising a productive and unforgettable tournament. Ivory Coast's standing as a major host of international sporting events is cemented when AFCON 2023 establishes a standard for inclusivity, first-rate sports infrastructure, and effective event management.

In the brilliance of AFCON 2023, Ivory Coast has not only hosted a football spectacle but has set a powerful legacy.

To fellow African nations, the challenge is clear: seize the momentum, embrace innovation, invest in infrastructure, and foster inclusivity.

Together, let us elevate African football to even greater heights, united by the passion that courses through our veins and the unwavering belief that the beautiful game be a catalyst for progress and unity across the continent.


Khayran Noor - Learning and Development Coordinator, Middle East Sports Law

Kendi Sherleen - Post Graduate Law Student

Khayran Noors image

Khayran Noor

Khayran is currently serving as the Learning and Development Coordinator and Executive Board Member at the Middle East Sports Law (MESL), she has garnered an impressive background in sports law, establishing herself as a notable professional in the field.

African Sports Unified