South African football icon Siphiwe Tshabalala, known for scoring the first goal at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, has praised the organization and quality of football at the ongoing 2023 AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire as the best in history.
Tshabalala who is attending the tournament as part of the CAF Legends, commended the world-class opening ceremony, the impressive quality of football, and the excellent officiating.
He expressed his appreciation for the warm reception from the Ivorian hosts and described the 34th edition of AFCON as the best witnessed by the world.
Tshabalala, who played for South African club Kaizer Chiefs and represented Bafana Bafana in three AFCON competitions (2006, 2008, and 2013), shared his fondest memories of wearing the national team jersey and competing against the best in the continent.
He emphasized that AFCON is the greatest tournament on the continent and every African footballer’s dream.
As the competition heads into the knockout stages, Tshabalala predicted that AFCON 2023 would be a tournament of upsets, pointing out the world-class standard and the impressive performances of so-called smaller teams.
Recent results have seen some tournament favorites facing unexpected outcomes against less fancied opponents.
His words: “Before coming to Korhogo, I attended the Opening Ceremony which was absolutely world-class in all aspects. The organisation, the venue, the fans and of course the football.
“Coming to the football, the quality of football has been impressive so far. I also have to commend the great officiating of matches and great organisation by CAF. This is by far the best AFCON that the world is witnessing”, Tshabalala said.
On the upsets, the former Kaizer Chiefs star added; “It is a very difficult competition for all teams. The standard is world-class. There have been big upsets by the so-called small teams. They rose to the occasion. This will definitely be a tournament of upsets”
The TotalEnergies CAF AFCON Cote d’Ivoire 2023 continues with the last round of group matches, determining the 16 nations advancing to the knockout stages of the competition.