Angola AFCON 2023 Preview and Predicted XI

This will also be just the second AFCON for them in the past decade, having made it to Egypt in 2019. Could Angola be a surprise package at the next Africa Cup of Nations? Take a look at our Angola AFCON 2023 preview to find out…

Sitting down at 117th in the FIFA World Rankings, Angola will head into their 10th AFCON finals and will no doubt have to do an awful lot to get far in the competition.

How did Angola qualify for AFCON 2023?

Angola narrowly made it to the finals of AFCON this time around by finishing two points ahead of Central African Republic. In all, Angola suffered just one loss and let in only five goals across the six matches.

Angola kicked things off with a 2-1 win over Central African Republic, as the star man, M'Bala Nzola, scored in a comeback win that would ultimately prove crucial.

After a return of four points from the next three games, including another win over their opening round opponents, Angola drew with Madagascar in their final game. With Central African Republic losing to Ghana at the same time, that was enough for Angola to make it through.

Angola team picture
©Sports Inc – Photo by Icon sport

Angola AFCON 2023 Preview

Who will Angola play at AFCON 2023?

The Black Sable Antelopes will be hopeful in progressing out of their group, as they share Group D with only one side within the top 50 of the FIFA World Rankings.


As usual, the two-time AFCON champions head into this tournament as one of the favourites to win the whole thing. Riyad Mahrez will once again be the star man, while their all-time top scorer, Islam Slimani, will also feature as a key figure for them.

Burkina Faso

Bertrand Traoré of Aston Villa will be the star player and captain for Burkina Faso at these finals, and the Stallions are no doubt one of the fastest-rising teams on the continent. They will be favoured to finish in second place.


If there is any side Angola should be confident in beating, it's Mauritania. The nation is only narrowly ahead of Angola in the FIFA World Rankings, while this will be just their third-ever AFCON finals. Mauritania have also never made it out of the group stages from those finals either.

How far will Angola go?

Given the impressive form shown by Burkina Faso in the past year and the excellence of Algeria, it's tough to see how Angola stamp their marker down on Group D. A spot in the knockout rounds is still possible by finishing third, but this will ultimately depend on how other groups go. Simply put, we don't see how Angola gets out of the groups, and it will be fortunate even to get a win on the board.

M'Bala Nzola player of Fiorentina
M'bala Nzola set to be Angola's AFCON MVP (photo by Vincenzo Izzo/Sipa USA) – Photo by Icon sport

Angola – Predicted AFCON 2023 XI


Neblú will likely be the main man between the sticks for Angola, as he already has 19 caps, which is significantly more than any other keeper they have.


Jonathan Buatu has one goal from his 37 caps so far for his country, and alongside fellow defender, Kialonda Gaspar, they are the joint top scorers from Angola squad that played in the November internationals. Alongside these two will be Hertha Berlin's Anderson Lucoqui and Gent's Nurio Fortuna.


Fredy and Rui Modesto are the standout players for Angola these days in the midfield and will undoubtedly start, while Bruno Paz has looked impressive for Konyaspor this season.


The attack is where it's at for Angola, as Leeds United's Hélder Costa joined the ranks a few years back and sits as their top player. Gelson Dala has 15 goals in 37 caps for his country and is in the top five all-time top scorers. Fiorentina's M'Bala Nzola makes up an impressive expected front three for Angola, on which a lot of hope is pinned.

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Grant McQuillan

Grant is a British sports writer based in America and was previously content head for Footy Accumulators. He has been covering football, boxing and MMA since leaving university in 2019 with a degree in Multimedia Sports Journalism.