Delayed by six months due to unfavourable weather conditions, the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) will take place in the Ivory Coast from 13 January to 11 February 2024.
Due to that delay, the tournament is also sometimes called AFCON 2023, since it was supposed to be played last year.
Below, listed chronologically in the order they qualified, are the 24 teams that will be involved at the tournament, along with a summary of how they booked their respective slots:
Ivory Coast (Group H – AFCON 2024 Host Country)
Although automatically qualified as hosts, the Elephants still took part in the qualifiers to aid their preparation. Jean-Louis Gasset's team finished level with group winners Zambia, behind only on goal difference.
Morocco (Group K)
In one of only two qualifying groups to feature fewer than four teams, following the suspension of Zimbabwe, Morocco only needed two matches to place themselves in pole position to qualify. At home, the Atlas Lions got the better of South Africa (2-1) and Liberia (2-0) under the guidance of former coach Vahid Halilhodzic back in June 2022.
Even before they could play a third game, courtesy of a draw between South Africa and Liberia (2-2), Morocco — now coached by 2022 FIFA World Cup hero Walid Regragui — booked their ticket.
Algeria (Group F)
Following the fiasco of AFCON 2021, marked by a humiliating first-round elimination certainly unbefitting of a title-holder, and the trauma of non-qualification for the 2022 World Cup, the Fennecs regained composure and confidence with a smooth AFCON 2023 qualifying process.
Overcoming Uganda (2-0) and Tanzania (2-0) boosted morale, before Djamel Belmadi's charges dispatched Niger in consecutive games (2-1, 1-0 ) to complete the quest to secure their place at next year's finals.
Senegal (Group L)
The reigning African champions left nothing to chance, beating Benin (3-1) and Rwanda (1-0) before making short work of eventual group runners-up Mozambique (5-1, 1-0) in March this year. Flawlessly, Senegal return to the finals where they will attempt to stage a successful defence of their title.
South Africa (Group K)
South Africa might have missed out on the last edition, and that disappointment fueled their resolve to be at AFCON 2024. Just like rivals Morocco, who beat them 2-1 on the first day, Bafana Bafana exploited Group K's peculiar configuration to quickly conduct their business.
A draw at home to Liberia (2-2) appeared to place Hugo Broos’ South Africa in a tight corner, but they wriggled right out of it with victory in the reverse fixture four days later (2-1).
Burkina Faso (Group B)
Finishing fourth at AFCON 2021 after missing out in 2019, Burkina Faso imposed superiority on a very unbalanced Group B that saw unfancied Eswatini and Togo on just two points apiece after four matchday.
Led by Frenchman Hubert Velud, the Stallions won their first three matches — against Cape Verde (2-0), Eswatini (1-3) and Togo (1-0) — and despite dropping points away to Togo (1-1), they'd still done enough to go through. It's all the more impressive, considering the West Africans were forced to play home games — due to a lack of standard facilities in their own country — in faraway Morocco.
Tunisia (Group J)
Set like clockwork, the Carthage Eagles became the first African team in history to qualify for a 16th straight AFCON edition. Their journey began with a hammering of Equatorial Guinea (4-0), before Jalel Kadri's side were held in Botswana (0-0). Tunisia, however, recovered to outclass North African rivals Libya in March's double-header (3-0, 1-0), thereby confirming their participation in the finals.
Egypt (Group D)
An upsetting defeat to Ethiopia in their second game was quite a setback for Egypt, but they rebounded strongly with three consecutive victories — including that against Guinea (2-1) in the penultimate game which landed Rui Victoria's men on the AFCON 2024 roster of qualified teams.
Zambia (Group H)
It's been 11 years since Zambia won the AFCON against huge odds, but they haven't been present at any of the last three editions. Now, though, the Chipolopolo are back at AFCON 2023.
An opening-day defeat to the Ivory Coast on the road wasn't the best start, but with four victories in a row, the highlight of which came against the Ivorians in the reverse fixture, they got back on track — and back to the continental showpiece.
Equatorial Guinea (Group J)
Quarter-finalists at the previous edition, Equatorial Guinea have secured the opportunity to go even further next year. They got off on the wrong foot after being thrashed 4-0 by Tunisia, but the Nzalang Nacional more than rectified the situation by winning their next four matches, one of which saw them exact sweet vengeance on the Eagles of Carthage (1-0), to bag their spot.
Nigeria (Group A)
There may have been little doubt that Nigeria would make it out of a group which featured no other heavyweight. Even so, defeat at home to little Guinea-Bissau in their third game did trigger some scepticism about head coach Jose Peseiro's methods.
But the Super Eagles won their five other games to sail through, one of which was a 10-0 rout of Sao Tome and Principe. Newly-crowned African Footballer of the Year Victor Osimhen, who netted four times in that comprehensive defeat of the island nation, scored a total of 10 goals to emerge top scorer in the qualifiers.
Cape Verde (Group B)
Prior to 2013, Cape Verde had never played at AFCON, but are now on their way to the finals for the fourth time in six editions. Three victories — over each of their group opponents — and a draw proved enough to guarantee another AFCON outing for the Blue Sharks, who would now be looking to improve on the performance that saw them finish in the Round of 16 last time.
Guinea-Bissau (Group A)
The Bissau-Guineans haven't missed an edition of the AFCON since debuting in 2017, and despite having to contend with the might of Nigeria this time, Baciro Cande's team made it out safely again, finishing just two points off the top.
They even claimed the scalp of the Nigerians in a shock 1-0 away victory, a nice little souvenir to take with them from a memorable campaign. Qualification was secured comfortably, even before the Djurtus hosted (and beat) Sierra Leone to wrap it up.
Mali (Group G)
Even if the defeat against Gambia (1-0) on the fourth match-day had sowed some doubt, Mali's ability to make it successfully through the qualifiers wasn't at any point in serious question. They won every other game, locking in their place as group winners before even playing the last of them, a 4-0 thumping of South Sudan.
Guinea (Group D)
A few days after its defeat against Egypt (1-2) in June 2023, Guinea still validated their qualification by capitalising on the draw between Ethiopia and Malawi (0-0). Five points clear in second place before the final game against Malawi, the Syli National officially qualified and will now hope to reach the quarter-final stage (or better) for the first time since 2015.
Ghana (Group E)
Though under pressure and leaving it till the last day, Ghana weren't in any mood to miss out on an AFCON for the first time in 19 years. Ultimately, it took a hard-fought, come-from-behind victory over the Central African Republic (2-1).
But while that late rally did see them finish top of the group, not many — among their fans or even neutrals — are convinced that the Black Stars can significantly improve on the chastening experience suffered last year when they make the short trip to neighbouring Ivory Coast next month for AFCON 2024.
Angola (Group E)
In a strong position before the last day thanks to its two victories against the Central African Republic, a disappointing draw at home to Madagascar (0-0) didn't prove detrimental to Angola's qualifying hopes, especially after the Central African Republic failed to beat Ghana in the other game taking place simultaneously. Absent in 2021, the Palancas Negras will be delighted to return to AFCON 2023.
Tanzania (Group F)
Neck-and-neck with neighbours Uganda going into the final day, a draw in Algeria (0-0) was enough to see Tanzania finish just ahead of the Cranes despite the latter's victory over Niger (2-0). The Taifa Stars’ first two AFCON appearances (1980 and 2019) came nearly four decades apart, but just four years after their last, they're back for only a third-ever involvement.
Mozambique (Group L)
Needing only a draw against Benin in their final game to seal their spot as runner-up to runaway leaders Senegal, Mozambique actually went one better, grabbing an added-time winner before their fans in Maputo to erase any faint hopes of their opponents snatching a result to deny the Mambas’ only the fifth AFCON appearance in their history — a first since 2010.
Mauritania (Group I)
It took forever for Mauritania to savour their first taste of AFCON action, but after that debut in 2019, Al-Murabitun have certainly developed a taste for it. They returned for the 2021 edition, and after getting the better of challengers Gabon in the decisive qualifying game, Amir Abou's men have made it three in a row in qualifying for AFCON 2024.
DR Congo (Group I)
Conspicuously missing from the last AFCON, it appeared another no-show was on the cards for the Congolese after just two games, both of which they lost (to Gabon and Sudan).
But what remarkable powers of recovery they showed in storming back into the race, wresting back control of their destiny even before hosting Sudan in the last game. A 2-0 triumph sealed their place, not just as one of the two qualified teams, but as group winners.
Gambia (Group G)
Even with the prospect of a draw in their final game against Congo sufficing, Gambia — surprise quarter-finalists at the previous edition — managed to almost bungle a pretty straightforward task.
Trailing 2-0 with just over 10 minutes remaining and on the verge of elimination, the Scorpions finally came to the party, stinging their hosts twice and just about sneaking through with a 90th-minute equaliser.
Cameroon (Group C)
It was only a three-team group (the fourth, Kenya, were suspended), with unfancied Namibia and Burundi as their only competitors, but Cameroon, hosts and bronze winners at the last AFCON, found it anything but easy.
They failed to win either game against Namibia, even losing one, but a 3-0 defeat of Burundi in the end got them first place, a flattering end to a campaign that was anything but impressive.
Namibia (Group C)
Powered by the goals of Mamelodi Sundowns' star forward Peter Shalulile (he scored in every game), Namibia went into the final matchday knowing only a high-scoring draw — no lower than 4-4 — in the Cameroon-Burundi match would deny them a fourth outing at AFCON 2024.
There was, of course, the next-to-no chance of that happening, and Namibia booked their place — definitely, a welcome development, having missed the last tournament.