2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations

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.

2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations
كأس الأمم الأفريقية تحت 23 سنة 2019
2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations.png
Tournament details
Host countryEgypt
Dates8–22 November 2019[1]
Teams8 (from 1 confederation)
Venue(s)2 (in 1 host city)
Final positions
Champions Egypt (1st title)
Runners-up Ivory Coast
Third place South Africa
Fourth place Ghana
Tournament statistics
Matches played16
Goals scored35 (2.19 per match)
Top scorer(s)Egypt Mostafa Mohamed
(4 goals)[2]
Best player(s)Egypt Ramadan Sobhi[2]
Best goalkeeperEgypt Mohamed Sobhy[2]
Fair play award Egypt[2]

The tournament was initially scheduled to take place in Zambia, but they withdrew from hosting in July 2017.[3] Egypt was announced as the new host nation of the tournament by CAF on 23 September 2017.[4]

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.[5][6]


Egypt qualified automatically as hosts, while the remaining seven spots were determined by the qualifying rounds.

Qualified teamsEdit

The following eight teams qualified for the final tournament.

Team Appearance Previous best performance
  Egypt (hosts) 3rd Third place (2011)
  Cameroon 1st Debut
  Ghana 1st Debut
  Ivory Coast 2nd Group stage (2011)
  Mali 2nd Group stage (2015)
  Nigeria 3rd Champions (2015)
  South Africa 3rd Third place (2015)
  Zambia 2nd Group stage (2015)


The tournament used two venues, Cairo International Stadium and Al Salam Stadium, both in Cairo.

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).[7]


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.[8][9][10] 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.[11][12]

Seeds Pot 1 Pot 2

Match officialsEdit

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.[13]

Regional Federation Referees Assistant Referees
UNAF   Lahlou Benbraham
  Mohamed Maarouf
  Slim Belkhouas
  Youssef El Bosaty
  Fathia Jermoumi
  Khalil Hassani
WAFU-UFOA   Louis Houngnandande
  Boubou Traoré
  Daouda Guèye
  Judicael Sanou
  Abdul Aziz Bollel Jawo
  Firmino Bassafim
  Abdoul Aziz Moctar Saley
  Samuel Pwadutakam
UNIFFAC   Pierre Atcho   Abelmiro dos Reis
CECAFA   Georges Gatogato
  Souleiman Ahmed Djama
  Salima Mukansanga
  Dick Okello
COSAFA   Ali Mohamed Adelaide
  Andofetra Rakotojaona
  Ivanildo Meirelles Lopes
  James Emile
  Diana Chikotesha

Group stageEdit

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):[7]

  1. Points in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
  2. Goal difference in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
  3. Goals scored in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
  4. 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;
  5. Goal difference in all group matches;
  6. Goals scored in all group matches;
  7. Drawing of lots.

All times are local, CAT (UTC+2).

Group AEdit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1   Egypt (H) 3 3 0 0 6 3 +3 9 Advance to knockout stage
2   Ghana 3 1 1 1 5 4 +1 4
3   Cameroon 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
4   Mali 3 0 0 3 0 4 −4 0
Source: CAF
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers
(H) Host
Egypt  1–0  Mali
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Georges Gatogato (Burundi)
Cameroon  1–1  Ghana
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Lahlou Benbraham (Algeria)

Mali  0–1  Cameroon
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Ali Mohamed Adelaide (Comoros)
Ghana  2–3  Egypt
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Daouda Guèye (Senegal)

Egypt  2–1  Cameroon
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Andofetra Rakotojaona (Madagascar)
Mali  0–2  Ghana
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Pierre Atcho (Gabon)

Group BEdit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1   Ivory Coast 3 2 0 1 2 1 +1 6 Advance to knockout stage
2   South Africa 3 1 2 0 1 0 +1 5
3   Nigeria 3 1 1 1 3 2 +1 4
4   Zambia 3 0 1 2 1 4 −3 1
Source: CAF
Rules for classification: Group stage tiebreakers
Nigeria  0–1  Ivory Coast
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Mohamed Maarouf (Egypt)
South Africa  0–0  Zambia
Report (Soccerway)

Ivory Coast  0–1  South Africa
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Souleiman Ahmed Djama (Djibouti)
Zambia  1–3  Nigeria
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Slim Belkhouas (Tunisia)

Nigeria  0–0  South Africa
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Boubou Traoré (Mali)
Ivory Coast  1–0  Zambia
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Louis Houngnandande (Benin)

Knockout stageEdit

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
  South Africa0
  Egypt (a.e.t.)2
19 November – Cairo International
  Ivory Coast1
  Ivory Coast (p)2 (3)
  Ghana2 (2)
Third place match
22 November – Cairo International
  South Africa (p)2 (6)
  Ghana2 (5)


Winners qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Ivory Coast  2–2 (a.e.t.)  Ghana
  • Dao   13'85'
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Lahlou Benbraham (Algeria)

Egypt  3–0  South Africa
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Daouda Guèye (Senegal)

Third place matchEdit

Winner qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

South Africa  2–2  Ghana
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Boubou Traoré (Mali)


Egypt  2–1 (a.e.t.)  Ivory Coast
Report (Soccerway)
Referee: Andofetra Rakotojaona (Madagascar)


 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations Champions 
First title


The following awards were given at the conclusion of the tournament:

Top Scorer[2] Best Player[2] Best Goalkeeper[2] Fair Play Award[2]
  Mostafa Mohamed
(4 goals)
  Ramadan Sobhi   Mohamed Sobhy   Egypt

Team of the tournamentEdit

The team of the tournament was announced by CAF after the final.[2]

Coach:   Shawky Gharieb

Goalkeeper Defenders Midfielders Forwards
  Mohamed Sobhy   Repo Malepe
  Kouadio-Yves Dabila
  Ahmed Ramadan
  Silas Gnaka
  Aboubakar Keita
  Amar Hamdy
  Evans Mensah
  Ramadan Sobhi
  Mostafa Mohamed
  Youssouf Dao

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[14] 1 (2008)
  Egypt 19 November 2019[14] 11 (1920, 1924, 1928, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1960, 1964, 1984, 1992, 2012)
  South Africa 22 November 2019[15] 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.

4 goals

3 goals

2 goals

1 goal

1 own goal


  1. ^ "Decisions of CAF Executive Commitee [sic] - 27 & 28 September 2018". CAF. 29 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Sobhy named Total Man of the competition as Egypt dominates". CAF. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Zambia withdraws from hosting the 2019 U-23 Africa Cup edition". Lusaka Times. 26 July 2017.
  4. ^ "DECISIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE - 23 SEPTEMBER 2017". www.cafonline.com. 23 September 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Penalty heartbreak for Ghana as South Africa qualifies to Tokyo". CAF. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Sobhy guides hosts Egypt to historic U-23 title". CAF. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Regulations for the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations" (PDF). Confederation of African Football.
  8. ^ "Iconic Montaza Complex hosts U-23 AFCON draw on 3 October". CAF. 17 September 2019.
  9. ^ "U-23 AFCON Final Tournament draw brought forward to 2 October". CAF. 26 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Draw for Total U-23 Africa Cup of Nations takes place in Alexandria, Egypt". CAF. 2 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Stage set for U-23 AFCON draw in Alexandria". CAF. 2 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Procedures of the draw of the Final Tournament of the 3rd Edition of U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, Egypt 2019" (PDF). CAF.
  13. ^ "Female referee trio named for Total U-23 AFCON Egypt 2019". CAF. 31 October 2019. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Côte d'Ivoire and Egypt earn Tokyo 2020 berths". FIFA.com. 19 November 2019. Archived from the original on November 20, 2019.
  15. ^ "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.

External linksEdit