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AFCON U-23 Reaches Final Phase as Teams Bid for a Place in Tokyo 2020


Mahmoud Al Assal

Mon, 18 Nov 2019 21:27 GMT

The semi-finals of the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON U-23) kick off on Tuesday, November 19th, with Egypt facing South Africa while Côte d'Ivoire play against Ghana in the tournament’s semi-finals on Tuesday, November 19th at Cairo Stadium.

The continental tournament is currently taking place in Egypt from November 8th to 22nd with the participation of eight teams, while the top three in the AFCON U-23 will represent the continent in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Four teams qualified from the groups stage round, as Egypt, South Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, and Ghana are bidding for a place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Egypt vs South Africa

Egypt achieved the full mark of nine points to snatch the top place in Group A, setting up a semi-final clash with South Africa, who placed second in Group B.

Egyptian national football team coach Shawki Gharib has urged Egyptian fans to support the team during the semi-final game to help them to reach the Olympics in Tokyo.

"Fans always play an important role during the critical games,” Gharib told a press conference on Monday, November 18th.

Gharib confirmed that he and his team’s players are doing their best to please the Egyptian fans and achieve the dream of reaching next summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo.

On the other side, South Africa coach David Notoane confirmed that his team will work hard to beat Egypt, as he studied his opponent’s squad well ahead of the game.

"We are ready for the game, as the better team will win the game as the tournament reaches its final phase," Notoane told a press conference on Monday.

Notoane also said that he is working to achieve the victory over Egypt to qualify for the final game, confirming his team came to Egypt to win the trophy.

The South African coach revealed his hopes of playing Egypt in the tournament final, not in the semi-finals, especially since the game will be played before a large number of fans.

Côte d'Ivoire vs Ghana

Côte d'Ivoire reached the semi-finals after topping Group B with six points and will face Ghana, who finished in the second place of Group A with four points. They will face off at Cairo Stadium on Tuesday, November 19th.

Ghana Olympic team coach Ibrahim Tanko confirmed his confidence in the players ahead of the game against Côte d'Ivoire, promising to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 games as well as reach the final of the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations.

“We will call our best starting line-up for the game against Côte d'Ivoire,” Tanko told a press conference on Monday.

Tanko also said the game against Côte d'Ivoire will be difficult and in need of more tactics, as the two teams will do their best to reach the 2020 Olympic Games.

On the other hand, Côte d'Ivoire manager Haidara Soualiho confirmed he has studied the Ghana team well and that his side is ready for the game.

“The Egyptian fans give us a confidence, as Cairo Stadium is one of the best playgrounds in the continent,” Soualiho told a press conference on Monday.

“Côte d'Ivoire’s players are ready to achieve the victory, but we have to be careful during the game,” the Côte d'Ivoire coach said.

The tournament’s final game between the winners of the semi-finals will be played on Friday, November 22nd, a few hours before the third-place decider game.