With a few days to the start of the African Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast (AFCON 2024) and while waiting for hostilities to begin, Afrik-foot takes a closer look at the nicknames of all the 24 teams that will be taking part in the most prestigious tournament on the continent.
With its incredible cultural diversity and deep love for football, the continent is not just going to witness extraordinary footballing talents but also to celebrate the rich traditions and heritage of the participating nations.
This year's competition is officially named AFCON 2023 since it was initially scheduled to take place last year but was postponed until January-February 2024.
Team nicknames are more than just designations; they are embedded with cultural, historical and emotional meanings, reflecting the hopes, dreams and spirit of the nations.
This piece will allow you to delve into the fascinating world of the participating nations, discovering the origin and meaning behind the emblematic nicknames of each side.
From ‘Super Eagles' to ‘Bafana Bafana' to ‘Chipolopolo' and to the ‘Atlas Lions', each nickname tells a story, reveals a character and embodies a goal.
Nigeria: ‘The Super Eagles'
The nickname illustrates pride and power, with the eagle symbolizing the superiority, bravery, courage and high ambition of the national team. It makes them exhibit a never-give-up attitude and a posture that is always unique.
Ivory Coast: ‘The Elephants'
Represents strength and dignity. The country is renowned for its majestic elephants, symbols of power and national pride. The Ivorian Elephants will try to shine with these attributes on home soil and trust them to have ‘a herd' backing them.
Senegal: ‘The Teranga Lions'
‘Teranga' means ‘good hospitality' in the Wolof language. It is an important value in Senegal. Lions symbolise strength and determination. The Teranga Lions will be looking to confront every challenge with the pride and grace that characterize their nation.
South Africa: ‘Bafana Bafana'
Zulu term meaning ‘the boys' – expressing the youth and energy of the South African team. The team will be seeking to reflect the diversity and resilience of the Rainbow Nation during the tournament.
Algeria: ‘Les Fennecs'
A nickname inspired by the fennec, a small desert fox known for its liveliness and agility. Algeria, can also be nicknamed ‘The Greens'.
Angola: ‘The Palancas Negras'
It means “black antelopes” in Portuguese. The sable antelope, a rare and graceful species, symbolizes the nobility and agility of the entire team. Angola will want to display these characteristics with grace and power in every match played in Ivory Coast.
Burkina Faso: ‘The Stallions'
The robust and vigorous horses of Burkina Faso represent strength and endurance. The Stallions will look to hop towards success with unwavering determination.
Cameroon: ‘The Indomitable Lions'
Represents the strength, courage and determination of the Cameroon team. Rigobert Song's Indomitable Lions will be looking to roar more loudly in Ivory Coast.
Cape Verde: ‘Blue Sharks'
It means ‘blue sharks. in Portuguese, symbolizing the determination and aggressiveness of the Cape Verde team in pursuit of victory.
Egypt: ‘The Pharaohs'
Inspired by its ancient history and the mighty kings of Egypt, it symbolises greatness and tradition. The Egyptian Pharaohs aim to rule the land with wisdom and strategy.
Gambia: ‘The Scorpions'
Symbolises strong defence and stinging attack, reflecting the team's tactics and spirit. In Ivory Coast, the Gambian Scorpions are getting ready to sting their opponents with agility and precision.
Ghana: ‘The Black Stars'
Inspired by the black star on the Ghana flag, it represents hope and national pride, as well as the wealth and unity of the country. The Black Stars of Ghana will do everything to shine in Ivory Coast.
Guinea: ‘The Syli National'
‘Syli' means ‘elephant' in Soussou, symbolising strength and power. The nickname embodies the fighting spirit and robustness of the Guinea.
Guinea-Bissau: ‘The Djurtus'
‘Djurtus' means wild dogs in French. An animal renowned for its perseverance and team spirit, reflecting the tenacity and solidarity of the team. Guinea-Bissau's Djurtus will look to demonstrate unwavering unity at the African Cup of Nations.
Equatorial Guinea: ‘Nzalang Nacional'
It means ‘national ray of light in Fang, expressing the unity and hope carried by the Equatorial Guinea team.
Mali: ‘The Eagles'
Represents strength and majesty, symbolizing the ambition of the Mali Eagles team to dominate African football.
Morocco: ‘The Lions of the Atlas'
Refers to the Atlas Lions, a native species of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, symbolising bravery and strength. The Moroccan Atlas Lions, expected to round the corner after their semi-final at the 2022 World Cup, are ready to roar and conquer the African continent with pride.
DR Congo: ‘The Leopards'
Represents speed, agility and ferocity, reflecting the qualities of the team on the field. The DR Congo Leopards are ready to pounce and seek victory with agility and power.
Mauritania: ‘The Mourabitounes'
It was an inspirational name they got from an old Almoravid warrior dynasty. The nickname evokes the nation's bravery and combative heritage. The Mauritanian Mourabitounes aim to defend their honor with some fierce fighting spirit.
Mozambique: ‘The Mambas'
Mamba refers to the venomous snake, symbolizing the speed, agility and danger that the Mozambique team poses to their opponents.
Namibia: ‘The Brave Warriors'
Expresses the courage, bravery and fighting spirit of the team, ready to fight with honour and determination. The Brave Warriors of Namibia are determined to bravely face every opponent that crosses their path.
Tanzania: ‘The Taifa Stars'
‘Taifa' means nation in Swahili. The nickname expresses the unity of the team. Tanzania's Taifa Stars will want to shine at AFCON 2023 and show the unified spirit of their people.
Tunisia: ‘The Eagles of Carthage'
Refers to the mighty birds of prey and the ancient city of Carthage, reflecting grandeur and historical pride. The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia will soon fly to the land of elephants with the ambition of making their nation proud.
Zambia: ‘The Chipolopolo'
Means ‘copper bullets' in reference to the country's copper mining industry, symbolising speed and tenacity. The Chipolopolo of Zambia will try to reflect these qualities.