How did Ivory Coast manage that?! 2023 AFCON winners and losers as Mohamed Salah’s wait for continental glory continues and Sadio Mane wilts under pressure in tournament for the underdogs | Tanzania

The hosts pulled off one of the great tournament victories after some early setbacks, but others weren’t so lucky

In a tournament overflowing with underdogs stories, it’s fitting that Ivory Coast’s name has ended up on the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations trophy. On the surface, it may not seem that uplifting that the hosts and 2015 winners came out on top, but that assessment does not take into account just how shambolic their group-stage campaign was, with the Elephants becoming the first team to lose two games and still win a major international tournament – excluding any league formats.

Ivory Coast’s unlikely victory only scratches the surfaces of the myriad of captivating storylines the tournament cooked up, too. We had footballing backwaters cutting the giants of the continent down to size, some huge names of African football failing to turn up and even some new stars seemingly emerging on the biggest stage.

GOAL reviews a staggeringly good tournament by breaking down all the winners and losers from the 2023 AFCON…

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