The 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations was the third edition of the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations, the quadrennial international age-restricted football championship organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for the men's under-23 national teams of Africa. It was hosted by Egypt between 8 and 22 November 2019.
|كأس الأمم الأفريقية تحت 23 سنة 2019|
|Dates||8–22 November 2019|
|Teams||8 (from 1 confederation)|
|Venue(s)||2 (in 1 host city)|
|Champions||Egypt (1st title)|
|Third place||South Africa|
|Goals scored||35 (2.19 per match)|
|Top scorer(s)|| Mostafa Mohamed|
|Best player(s)||Ramadan Sobhi|
|Best goalkeeper||Mohamed Sobhy|
|Fair play award||Egypt|
The tournament was initially scheduled to take place in Zambia, but they withdrew from hosting in July 2017. Egypt was announced as the new host nation of the tournament by CAF on 23 September 2017.
Same as previous editions, the tournament served as African qualifying for the Olympic football tournament, with the top three teams of the tournament qualifying for the 2020 Summer Olympic men's football tournament in Japan.
Nigeria were the defending champions, but were eliminated in the group stage. Egypt defeated Ivory Coast 2–1 at extra time in the final, winning the title for the first time in their history, while South Africa came third for the second times in a row after beating Ghana 6–5 on penalties after the match ended 2–2 in their third-place play-off match.
Egypt qualified automatically as hosts, while the remaining seven spots were determined by the qualifying rounds.
The following eight teams qualified for the final tournament.
|Team||Appearance||Previous best performance|
|Egypt (hosts)||3rd||Third place (2011)|
|Ivory Coast||2nd||Group stage (2011)|
|Mali||2nd||Group stage (2015)|
|South Africa||3rd||Third place (2015)|
|Zambia||2nd||Group stage (2015)|
|Cairo International Stadium||Al Salam Stadium|
|Capacity: 75,000||Capacity: 30,000|
Each team had to register a squad of 21 players. Only players born on or after 1 January 1997 were eligible to compete in the tournament (Regulations Article 45).
The draw of the final tournament was held on 2 October 2019, 19:00 CAT (UTC+2), at the Haramlek Palace of Montaza Complex in Alexandria. The eight teams were drawn into two groups of four teams. The hosts Egypt were seeded in Group A (position A1), and the defending champions Nigeria were seeded in Group B (position B1). The remaining teams were allocated to two pots based on the results of the 2015 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations, and were drawn to the remaining positions in their group.
|Seeds||Pot 1||Pot 2|
On 31 October 2019, CAF released the list of 12 referees and 13 assistant referees selected to oversee matches. This is the first time CAF appointed female match officials for the tournament.
|Regional Federation||Referees||Assistant Referees|
|UNAF|| Lahlou Benbraham
| Youssef El Bosaty|
|WAFU-UFOA|| Louis Houngnandande
| Judicael Sanou|
Abdul Aziz Bollel Jawo
Abdoul Aziz Moctar Saley
|UNIFFAC||Pierre Atcho||Abelmiro dos Reis|
|CECAFA|| Georges Gatogato
Souleiman Ahmed Djama
|COSAFA|| Ali Mohamed Adelaide
| Ivanildo Meirelles Lopes|
The top two teams of each group advanced to the semi-finals.
Teams were ranked according to points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss), and if tied on points, the following tiebreaking criteria were applied in the order given, to determine the rankings (Regulations Article 68):
- Points in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
- Goal difference in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
- Goals scored in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
- If more than two teams are tied, and after applying all head-to-head criteria above, a subset of teams are still tied, all head-to-head criteria above are reapplied exclusively to this subset of teams;
- Goal difference in all group matches;
- Goals scored in all group matches;
- Drawing of lots.
|1||Egypt (H)||3||3||0||0||6||3||+3||9||Advance to knockout stage|
|1||Ivory Coast||3||2||0||1||2||1||+1||6||Advance to knockout stage|
|Ivory Coast||0–1||South Africa|
In the knockout stage, extra time and penalty shoot-out were used to decide the winner if necessary, except for the third place match where a direct penalty shoot-out, without any extra time, would be used to decide the winner if necessary.
|19 November – Cairo International|
|22 November – Cairo International|
|19 November – Cairo International|
|Ivory Coast (p)||2 (3)|
|Third place match|
|22 November – Cairo International|
|South Africa (p)||2 (6)|
Winners qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
|Ivory Coast||2–2 (a.e.t.)||Ghana|
Third place matchEdit
Winner qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
|2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations Champions|
The following awards were given at the conclusion of the tournament:
|Top Scorer||Best Player||Best Goalkeeper||Fair Play Award|
| Mostafa Mohamed
|Ramadan Sobhi||Mohamed Sobhy||Egypt|
Team of the tournamentEdit
The team of the tournament was announced by CAF after the final.
Coach: Shawky Gharieb
|Mohamed Sobhy|| Repo Malepe
| Aboubakar Keita
| Ramadan Sobhi|
Qualified teams for Summer OlympicsEdit
The following three teams from CAF qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympic men's football tournament.
|Team||Qualified on||Previous appearances in Summer Olympics1|
|Ivory Coast||19 November 2019||1 (2008)|
|Egypt||19 November 2019||11 (1920, 1924, 1928, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1960, 1964, 1984, 1992, 2012)|
|South Africa||22 November 2019||2 (2000, 2016)|
- 1 Bold indicates champions for that year.
There were 35 goals scored in 16 matches, for an average of 2.19 goals per match.
1 own goal
- Habib Mohammed (against South Africa)
- "Decisions of CAF Executive Commitee [sic] - 27 & 28 September 2018". CAF. 29 September 2018.
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- "U-23 AFCON Final Tournament draw brought forward to 2 October". CAF. 26 September 2019.
- "Draw for Total U-23 Africa Cup of Nations takes place in Alexandria, Egypt". CAF. 2 October 2019.
- "Stage set for U-23 AFCON draw in Alexandria". CAF. 2 October 2019.
- "Procedures of the draw of the Final Tournament of the 3rd Edition of U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, Egypt 2019" (PDF). CAF.
- "Female referee trio named for Total U-23 AFCON Egypt 2019". CAF. 31 October 2019. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
- "Côte d'Ivoire and Egypt earn Tokyo 2020 berths". FIFA.com. 19 November 2019. Archived from the original on November 20, 2019.
- "Pharaohs take the trophy as Bafana Bafana book Africa's last Olympic ticket". FIFA.com. 22 November 2019. Archived from the original on November 23, 2019.
- Total U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, CAFonline.com