African football giants return to action after AFCON showdown


Africa’s football titans are gearing up to grace the international stage once again following the end of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations last month in Cote d’Ivoire.

This week’s international break signals a welcome return to action for the continent’s premier teams, with an array of friendlies and the commencement of the new FIFA Series on the horizon, presenting these nations with a golden opportunity to regain their rhythm and showcase their prowess.

Leading the charge are the newly minted African champions, Cote d’Ivoire, who have a duo of captivating fixtures in France that are bound to draw global attention. The Elephants’ journey begins in Amiens on 23 March with a face-off against Benin, setting the stage for a high-profile encounter with Uruguay, led by their enigmatic coach Marcelo Bielsa, in Lens. This match against the illustrious two-time World Cup winners stands as a pivotal moment for the Ivorians as they lay the groundwork for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in June.

Meanwhile, Senegal, the Teranga Lions, spearheaded by former African Player of the Year, Sadio Mane, are slated for friendly skirmishes against Gabon and Benin in Amiens. Coming off a somewhat disheartening performance at the AFCON, Senegal is poised for redemption and eager to reassert their dominance.

Nigeria, still nursing the wounds of their AFCON final defeat to Cote d’Ivoire, is primed for a formidable challenge as they face off against their storied rivals, Ghana, in Marrakech on March 22nd. The clash against the Black Stars, who edged out Nigeria in last year’s World Cup playoff, is teeming with narratives of rivalry and revenge, setting up what promises to be a thrilling encounter.

The FIFA Series also kicks off, with Algeria playing host to Bolivia and South Africa in Algiers, marking the debut of their new coach, Vladimir Petkovic. Under Petkovic’s guidance, the Fennecs are looking to rejuvenate their fortunes and make a statement on the international stage.

Morocco, too, will showcase its talent in friendly matches against Angola and Mauritania in Agadir, as Africa’s footballing elite aim to leave their mark in this post-AFCON period. The international break not only offers these nations a platform to rebound and refine but also reaffirms the rich tapestry of African football and its enduring appeal on the global scene.

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