People sit at a bus stop decorated with the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) official mascot ‘Awkwaba’ in Abidjan on January 8, 2024.
(Photo by Issouf SANOGO / AFP)
Things to know about the Africa Cup of Nations before the 2024 tournament kicks off on Saturday with a Group A clash between hosts Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau (22:00 SA time).
– Ivory Coast are staging the biggest African sport event a second time with Cameroon winning there in 1984. Nigeria finished second and Algeria third.
– The 1984 edition comprised eight countries and lasted 15 days — 40 years later the number of participants has trebled to 24.
– Ivory Coast flopped when they first hosted the tournament with a victory over Togo followed by losses to Egypt and Cameroon and elimination after the group stage.
– The 2024 tournament will comprise 52 matches over 30 days — 36 across six groups and 16 in the knockout phase.
– Commercial capital Abidjan will host 20 matches in two stadiums, Bouake nine, San Pedro and Yamoussoukro eight each and Korhogo seven
– The opening match between Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau and the February 11 final are among 10 fixtures set for the new 60,000-seat Alhassane Ouattara stadium in Abidjan.
– Should teams finish level on points in a mini-league, head-to-head records will be the first tie-breaker, followed by goal difference then goals scored in all group matches.
– If teams are still inseparable, lots will be drawn to determine final placings. This last occurred in 2015 with Guinea advancing to the quarter-finals at the expense of Mali.
– VAR will be used in all 52 matches with 12 officials selected to monitor matches. There will also be 26 referees and 30 assistant referees at the tournament.
– In the knockout phase, drawn matches will go to extra time, then a penalty shootout if necessary to determine winners. Matches decided by penalties are officially classified as draws.
– The first knockout stage — the round of 16 — will consist of the six group winners, six group runners-up and the four highest ranked third-placed teams.