The atmosphere is loaded with uncertainty in the build-up to the 2023 Afcon, as Algerian football veteran Rabah Madjer the 1987 African Footballer of the Year winner—acknowledges the difficult task of picking a clear favorite.

In an exclusive interview with, Madjer delves into the complexity of predicting a frontrunner for the competition set to unfold until February 11.

The seasoned football luminary's reluctance to single out a team as the expected champion emanates from the sheer strength assembled in this edition.

Madjer notes that the upcoming tournament, hosted in a West African country, is set to welcome all the powerhouses of African football.

This paints a vivid picture of a fiercely contested event, where giants collide and the unpredictability of outcomes becomes the defining narrative. As we approach the AFCON 2023 in Cote d’Ivoire, what are your expectations regarding the level of competition?

Rabah Madjer:  I am highly confident about the quality of the competition because the strongest teams in the continent are all present and by default this makes it a tough competition. The participating sides will all be vying for glory, and I expect them to raise the bar to ensure that the tournament is captivating. With just a few days remaining before the kickoff, the expectation for a high level of performance is set with top players from across the globe playing in it.  Which teams do you predict will shine in the AFCON 2023?

Rabah Madjer: Predicting standout teams is a challenging task, given the diverse pool of formidable contenders. Some teams will obviously be aiming to go far in the continental competition, while others enter the competition with the sole aim of clinching the coveted title. Naming a specific team as the favourite is extremely challenging, especially with giants like the host nation Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria, Morocco, Senegal, and Nigeria participating in the finals.  Who are the players you anticipate will emerge as discoveries in AFCON 2023?

Rabah Madjer: I have a big difficulty of pre-determining players who might shine in the AFCON 2023 because of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations is different. A player might be excelling elsewhere but when he comes to the AFCON his performance will be different because all the matches are extremely difficult. The tournament's opening matches will offer a glimpse into the players' performances, which will allow me the proper chance to assess their capabilities on the grand stage.