As the countdown to the CAF Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023 begins, Angola is gearing up for a triumphant return to the prestigious tournament after missing out on the last edition. Placed in Group D alongside formidable opponents Algeria, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania, the Palancas Negras are determined to make a mark and rewrite their AFCON history.
Over the past decade, Angola’s AFCON journey has been a mix of highs and lows. While they made appearances in 2013 and 2019, they struggled to progress beyond the group stages. The 2015, 2017, and 2021 editions saw them fail to qualify.
Now, with a renewed spirit, Angola aims to break the jinx and achieve something unprecedented in Côte d’Ivoire – winning two group stage matches and advancing in a knockout game.
Their campaign kicks off on January 15 against Algeria at Stade de la Paix, Bouaké, followed by clashes with Mauritania on January 20 and Burkina Faso on January 23, both at Charles Konan Banny, Yamoussoukro.
Angola’s qualification journey had its moments of suspense, needing a victory against Madagascar on the final match day to secure a spot in Côte d’Ivoire. The team held their nerve, securing a goalless draw as fate favored them with Ghana defeating Central African Republic, ensuring their qualification.
At the heart of Angola’s ambitions is the talented Zito Luvumbo, a rising star in Angolan football. From winning the COSAFA U17 Championship to inspiring his nation to a third-place finish at the AFCON U17, Luvumbo’s journey has been remarkable.
His goal-scoring prowess, impressive ball control, and ability to torment defenses make him a key player in Group D.
Coach Pedro Gonçalves, who has led the team through a revamp, envisions a positive and dominating style of play. With a track record of 16 wins, 13 draws, and 10 losses in 39 matches, Gonçalves understands that the AFCON is where it truly matters.
His dream for the team is clear – winning two group stage games and a knockout match to set the foundation for success.
As Angola heads to Côte d’Ivoire, they carry the weight of their previous AFCON performances. The quarterfinal finishes in 2008 and 2010 remain the team’s best achievements, but they now aspire for a deeper run in the tournament, fueled by determination, talent, and the dream of creating history. The AFCON 2023 promises to be a stage for Angola to shine and be counted among the continent’s football elite once again.