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HomeSportAFCON: Things To Know As Tournament Kicks-off

AFCON: Things To Know As Tournament Kicks-off

Things to know about the Africa Cup of Nations as the 2024 tournament kicks off on Saturday with a Group A clash between hosts Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau:

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* 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 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.

* Stadiums with 20,000 capacities were built in Korhogo, San Pedro and the capital, Yamoussoukro, for the Cup of Nations.

* The 40-000-seat ground in Bouake and the second in Abidjan, the 30,000-capacity Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium, were renovated for the biennial tournament.

* 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.

* The following tie-breakers will be used to choose the best four third-placed teams: match points, goal difference then goals scored in all group matches, drawing of lots.

* Qualifiers were permitted squads of up 27 players. However, only 23 — 11 starters and 12 substitutes — can be chosen for matches.

* A record seven million dollars (6.4 mn euros) goes to the winners — a 40 percent increase from the last tournament won by Senegal in 2022. The runners-up pocket four million dollars.

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