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AFCON 2023 Group E Preview: Team news, lineups and prediction

Hey, fellow soccer fans! The AFCON 2023 action is heating up in Ivory Coast, and if you’re curious about one of the most exciting groups in the tournament, look no further than Group E of AFCON 2023!

This group is packed with football brilliance, featuring the likes of Tunisia, Mali, South Africa, and Namibia. It’s a showdown you won’t want to miss! We’ve got the lowdown on everything you need to know – from the lineups of Group E teams in AFCON 2023 to our prediction of group E advancers in AFCON 2023.

And, of course, we’re keeping you in the loop on the chances of these teams securing a spot in the coveted Round of 16. So, buckle up, fans! AFCON 2023’s Group E is about to deliver some serious soccer thrills!

AFCON 2023 Group E Preview

Get ready for an exciting ride as Group E becomes one of the main focuses in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations! This group guarantees intense battles between football powerhouses and rising underdog teams.

Tunisia, a regular in the quarter-finals, is yearning for another taste of glory since their 2004 triumph. Fans debate the team’s playing style and coaching staff, especially without key players like Wahbi Khazri and Hannibal Mejbri. Despite these challenges, Tunisia boasts a talented squad, featuring the dynamic Elias Achouri.

Mali, under coach Éric Chelle’s leadership, is not just aiming for victory but also striving for respect on the continental stage. An injury crisis affecting key players like Ibrahima Koné and Cheick Doucouré poses a challenge, but the Eagles remain determined to leave their mark.

South Africa, with a core of Mamelodi Sundowns stars, exudes quiet confidence. Coach Hugo Broos, the architect of Cameroon’s 2019 AFCON title, faces the task of solving South Africa’s goal-scoring woes. The absence of key strikers Lebo Mothiba and Lyle Foster puts pressure on the Orlando Pirates duo, Zakhele Lepasa and Evidence Makgopa.

Namibia, despite concerns about potential player protests, emerges as a resilient force. Led by the prolific Peter Shalulile, Namibia aims to rewrite its AFCON narrative. The team, guided by coach Collin Benjamin, combines seasoned players with emerging talents.

The action kicks off from January 14 to January 22, 2024, in Qatar. Watch out for every twist and turn as the top two teams from each group advance to the round of 16, promising a football extravaganza in AFCON 2023!

Tunisia in the AFCON 2023 Group E


Tunisia has a rich history in AFCON, with their best result being champions in 2004. Despite being competitive in recent years, they fell short of the title, finishing as runners-up in 2019.

With key players like Youssef Msakni in excellent form, Tunisia is poised to perform strongly in the group stage and has a genuine chance of securing the AFCON trophy. Will this tournament mark the year they clinch victory?

Qualification & Top Scores

  • FIFA Ranking: 28
  • Best Result in AFCON: Champions (2004)
  • Coach: Jalal Kedri

Tunisia Key Players in AFCON


Youssef Msakni:

Youssef Msakni, Tunisia’s iconic number 7, brings over a decade of experience to the team. Known for his spectacular goals, he remains a vital figure despite advancing in age. Tunisia’s AFCON aspirations hinge on the enduring brilliance of this seasoned showman.

Elias Achouri:

Elias Achouri, the dynamic midfielder from FC Copenhagen, stands out as a technical maestro. With a fearless dribbling style and a record-high seven assists in the Danish Superligaen, Achouri is poised to be Tunisia’s creative force, adding flair to their midfield.

Béchir Ben Saïd:

As the expected goalkeeper for Tunisia, Béchir Ben Saïd holds the key to defensive stability. His shot-stopping abilities and command in the penalty area will be crucial for Tunisia’s success. Alongside a solid defense, Ben Saïd aims to anchor the Carthage Eagles in their AFCON campaign.

Aïssa Laïdouni:

Part of the Bundesliga duo, Aïssa Laïdouni is set to provide midfield solidity for Tunisia. In the 4-3-3 formation, Laïdouni, along with Skhiri and Rafia, brings experience and technical prowess. His contributions in both defensive and offensive phases will be pivotal for Tunisia’s AFCON ambitions.

News, Analysis, and Prediction 

Tunisia eyes consistent quarter-finals, hoping to avoid Burkina Faso. Key absentees include Khazri and Mejbri, with Saad facing blacklisting. The team shifts from a stylish game to a result-oriented approach under coach Jalel Kadri.

Critics question Kadri’s appointment as local coaches historically underperform. The squad boasts key players: Msakni, Achouri, Ben Saïd, and Laïdouni. Tactical expectations lean towards a 4-3-3 formation, focusing on Bundesliga duo in mid-field.

Tunisia aims for a semi-final finish, with doubts on winning the title. Kadri’s leadership and the team’s balance are crucial. Failure might lead to Kadri’s dismissal. Success depends on overcoming a gritty style and unleashing attacking flair from players like Msakni and Achouri.

Read more: AFCON 2023 Group C Preview: Team news, lineups and prediction

Mali in the AFCON 2023 Group E


The Mali national football team, known as the Eagles, proudly represents the West African nation of Mali on the international stage.

Mali has made significant strides in African football, consistently producing talented players. Despite the lack of AFCON titles or World Cup appearances, Mali’s footballing heritage is characterized by a commitment to youth development and a reputation for nurturing skilled players.

While the Eagles have faced challenges in making deep tournament runs, they remain a formidable force, often featuring in the knockout stages. The team’s resilience and determination embody Mali’s aspirations in the world of football.

Qualification & Top Scores

  • FIFA Ranking: 51
  • Best Result in AFCON: Runner-UP (1972)
  • Coach: Under the guidance of coach Éric Chelle, the Eagles are led by a mentor with a deep understanding of the team’s dynamics and a commitment to overcoming historical challenges.

Mali Key Players in AFCON 2023


Yves Bissouma (Tottenham Hotspur):

Bissouma is a crucial player for Mali because he’s excellent at passing, has good vision, and is strong defensively. He plays a key role in controlling the game and also brings excitement by taking shots from long distances.

Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig):

A key presence in the midfield, Haidara’s technical skills and playmaking abilities provide the team with creativity and control. His partnership with Bissouma forms a formidable core in Mali’s midfield.

Adama Traoré (Wolves):

Known for his versatility and pace, Traoré’s ability to play in various attacking roles makes him a vital asset. His flair and goal scoring skills add a crucial dimension to Mali’s attacking strategy.

News of teams in AFCON 2023, Analysis, and Prediction 

Mali faces an injury crisis, with key players like Ibrahima Koné and Cheick Doucouré sidelined. Coach Éric Chelle emphasizes the importance of gaining respect, aiming to rectify past underachievement.

The absence of top strikers poses a goal scoring challenge, prompting reliance on the midfield prowess of Bissouma and Amadou Haidara. Mali’s solid defense and talented midfielders create a resilient core.

Even though Mali has faced some injuries, they’re looking ready to compete well. The strong midfield and solid defense are positive signs. While winning the whole tournament might be a big goal, reaching the quarter-finals is a more achievable target.

Read more: AFC Asian Cup 2023 Group C Preview: Team news, lineups and prediction

Namibia in the AFCON 2023 Group E


Namibia, known as the Brave Warriors, embarks on their fourth Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) appearance with a rich history of resilience. Despite previous eliminations in the group stages, their recent qualification victory against Cameroon has ignited hope for a historic campaign.

Qualification & Top Scores

  • FIFA Ranking: 115
  • Best Result in AFCON: Group Stage (1998, 2008, 2019)
  • Coach: Collin Benjamin

Key Players in AFCON 2023


Peter Shalulile (Mamelodi Sundowns):

Namibia’s offensive powerhouse, Shalulile is recognized as one of the premier players on the continent. A top scorer in the South African top-flight, he boasts both goal-scoring prowess and playmaking abilities. Shalulile’s stellar performance during qualifiers, including goals against Cameroon, positions him as a player to watch in AFCON 2023 Group E.

Petrus Shitembi:

Bringing experience and leadership, Shitembi is a crucial figure in Namibia’s midfield. His understanding of the game and ability to control the tempo make him an anchor in the team. As one of the seasoned players, Shitembi’s contributions will be vital for Namibia’s success in the competition.

Lloyd Kazapua:

Kazapua, the goalkeeper for Namibia, plays a crucial role in their defense. With a consistent presence and good at stopping shots, he makes the team’s defense stronger. Kazapua’s performances will be really important in making sure Namibia has a strong defense in place.

News, Analysis, and Prediction

Namibia’s qualification euphoria is tempered by concerns over camp conditions and player bonuses. The team’s unity, forged through shared experiences, will be tested amid challenges. Coach Collin Benjamin’s leadership, grounded in his extensive playing career and UEFA Champions League experience, instills confidence.

Namibia’s game plan revolves around a strategic approach, frequently sitting back and waiting for counter-attacks, which suits their strengths. The team, compact in structure with Lloyd Kazapua in goal and players like Ryan Nyambe, aspires to outdo their past achievements. The addition of the 21-year-old forward Prins Tjiueza brings an exciting new element to their play.

While expectations are tempered, Namibia seeks to leave a mark on the tournament. The blend of experienced campaigners and emerging talents provides a dynamic mix.

South Africa in the AFCON 2023 Group E


South Africa, also known as Bafana Bafana, is another one of teams in Group E AFCON 2023 with a mix of confidence and historical aspirations. Their debut AFCON campaign in 1996 remains a landmark moment, and since then, the nation has been on a quest to replicate that success. With a squad boasting a strong contingent from Mamelodi Sundowns, the most dominant club in South African football, expectations are high for Bafana Bafana to make a lasting impact.

Qualification & Top Scores

  • FIFA Ranking: 61
  • Best Result in AFCON: Champions (1996)
  • Coach: Hugo Broos

Key Players in AFCON 2023


Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns):

Known as “Mshishi,” Zwane is the crowned jewel of the South African squad. His flair, creativity, and ability to operate in tight spaces make him a vital component in the team’s midfield. While he may not have replicated his Sundowns’ performances in the national colors, Zwane’s influence could prove pivotal in Bafana Bafana’s attacking endeavors.

Zakhele Lepasa (Orlando Pirates):

Lepasa, leading Orlando Pirates in expected goals per 90, brings physicality, pressing, and finishing to the South African frontline. His domestic form suggests a player capable of replicating his goal-scoring prowess on the international stage. Lepasa’s contributions will be closely watched as South Africa aims for a deep run in AFCON 2023 Group E.

News, Analysis, and Prediction of qualified teams for the Round of 16

Amidst South Africa’s historical successes and challenges, coach Hugo Broos has adapted the team’s style to align with the strengths of Mamelodi Sundowns players. However, the absence of key strikers Lebo Mothiba and Lyle Foster poses a challenge in the goal-scoring department.

Hugo Broos, renowned for leading Cameroon to AFCON success in 2019, acknowledges the need for a shift in strategy, relying on players with physical prowess. The midfield diamond, featuring Sphephelo Sithole and Teboho Mokoena, adds strength to the team’s core.

Bafana Bafana’s chances hinge on adapting to Broos’s tactical adjustments and the performances of key players like Themba Zwane and Zakhele Lepasa.

With a blend of experience and emerging talent, South Africa has the potential to navigate through the group stages and make a significant impact.

Read more: AFCON 2023 Group B Preview: Team news, lineups and prediction

AFCON 2023 Group E Match Schedule

DateTimeTeam 1Team 2Stadium
16 January 202417:00TunisiaNamibiaAmadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium, Korhogo
16 January 202420:00MaliSouth AfricaAmadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium, Korhogo
20 January 202420:00TunisiaMaliAmadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium, Korhogo
21 January 202420:00South AfricaNamibiaAmadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium, Korhogo
24 January 202417:00South AfricaTunisiaAmadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium, Korhogo
24 January 202417:00NamibiaMaliLaurent Pokou Stadium, San-Pédro

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Elliot Walker
Elliot Walker
I'm Elliot, a writer with deep-seated love for anything football-related. My love for the beautiful game knows no bound, and I'm equally obsessed with spinning stories. Join me on this journey where we celebrate our shared love of literature and football!



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