The Africa Cup of Nations might just be the most entertaining sporting spectacle on the planet and the latest edition has delivered moments to remember.
From crazy commentary, action-packed encounters and surprise stars, AFCON 2023 lived up to its billing with a month of unforgettable events.
Following the conclusion of the tournament, that saw Ivory Coast triumph over Nigeria in Sunday’s showpiece, we remember seven unforgettable moments from AFCON 2023.
Bebe, remember him?
The former Manchester United flop declared for Cape Verde in 2022 and has since made an impact with the national team after scoring six times on the international stage. None have been better than this blast from all of 40 yards, as Bebe bamboozled Mozambique ‘keeper Hernani Siluane from range.
Bebé’s long range free-kick gives Cape Verde the lead! 💥 pic.twitter.com/qIAHiHjxlE
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 19, 2024
Mali exited the competition in one of the most dramatic AFCON games of all time, a clash that saw three red cards and a last-gasp extra-time winner for host nation Ivory Coast. Mali had looked set for a place in the semi-finals and led until the final minute of normal time, before Simon Adingra’s goal forced an additional 30 minutes.
Oumar Diakite’s 122nd-minute winner sent the 10-man Elephants into the last four to leave Mali devastated – and it all got a bit too much for head coach Éric Chelle. Fortunately, his assistant was on hand to help Chelle keep a cool head in defeat.
— Brick Foley🥋 (@LobRucci) February 3, 2024
Waka waka commentator
Arabic commentary can be gold and this was an absolute gem during South Africa’s shootout win over Cape Verde in the quarter-finals.
Somehow, we can’t quite imagine Peter Drury belting out a Shakira chorus amid the tension of a major tournament quarter-final.
But we’re here for it.
Good morning South Africa
— Sinawo Thambo (@Sinawo_Thambo) February 4, 2024
Zambia’s chaotic opener against DR Congo
Pure chaos, from start to finish.
— 🎬 (@Browlstarss) January 17, 2024
Ronwen Williams penalty saves
Ronwen Williams produced an all-timer in South Africa’s quarter-final win over Cape Verde, saving FOUR penalties in his side’s shootout success.
Williams had a tournament to remember as he won the Golden Glove at AFCON 2023, having conceded just once in six games during Bafana Bafana’s shock run to a third-place finish.
His shootout heroics against Cape Verde were one of the stories of the tournament, before he saved two more penalties in the third-place play-off win against DR Congo.
FOUR PENALTY SAVES? THAT’S INSANE! 🇿🇦
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) February 3, 2024
Ivory Coast go from despair to delight
No team has won an AFCON tournament quite like the Ivory Coast, whose dreams appeared in tatters after a dreadful group-stage performance. The host nation were thrashed 4-0 by Equatorial Guinea, an embarrassment that looked set to end their campaign and saw head coach Jean-Louis Gasset sacked.
The Elephants snuck into the knockout rounds as one of the best third-place finishers, before embarking on a stunning run under caretaker coach Emerse Faé to win the tournament.
Faé had never before coached at senior level, but is now an AFCON-winning head coach after the Ivorians beat Nigeria to be crowned champions on home soil.
Ivory Coast finishing 3rd in their group, sacking their manager, then making it through to the knockouts as the final best third-placed team only to go on and win the whole thing with rookie caretaker manager Emerse Fae overseeing it all from the touchline is a truly great story. https://t.co/Hq9SmL28f2
— HLTCO (@HLTCO) February 12, 2024
Sebastien Haller scores final winner
An unforgettable tournament had perhaps the perfect conclusion, as Sebastien Haller scored the goal to hand host nation Ivory Coast the trophy.
Haller’s road to his history-making moment had been a challenging one, with the forward diagnosed with testicular cancer shortly after signing for Borussia Dortmund in July 2022. The 29-year-old returned to football after seven months of treatment and then delivered international success for his nation, turning in a late winner to send the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan wild.
In July 2022, Sébastien Haller was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which he beat in 7 months and made a return to football…
He has just scored the 𝐖𝐈𝐍𝐍𝐈𝐍𝐆 goal for Ivory Coast in the AFCON final 🏆🏆
What a moment ❤️️ pic.twitter.com/BuqDchogYk
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) February 11, 2024
What a story.