By far the best AFCON, says 2010 FIFA World Cup history-maker Tshabalala!

Following his wonder strike when Africa hosted its first ever FIFA World Cup back in 2010, South African football icon, Siphiwe Tshabalala successfully engraved his name in the rich history books of African football when he became the first player to score a goal in Africa’s first hosting of the World Cup.

“Shabba” as the dreadlocked legend is affectionately known is among a star-studded list of CAF Legends that are present at the ongoing TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023.

Speaking to CAFOnline on the sidelines of the ongoing competition in Korhogo where he is based in the same host city as Bafana Bafana, Tshabalala hailed CAF’s organisation and the warm reception of the Ivorians in staging what has so far been an exceptional 34th edition of Africa’s biggest event.

“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”, declared Tshabalala.

The former Bafana Bafana star, who also shone brightly in the colours of South African club, Kaizer Chiefs played in three TotalEnergies CAF AFCON competitions with Bafana Bafana in 2006, 2008 as well as in 2013 when South Africa finished in the quarter-finals as hosts.

“My fondest memory of AFCON is wearing my national team jersey of South Africa representing my country in the biggest tournament in the continent and competing against the best in the continent on three occasions. This is the greatest tournament on the continent and every African footballer’s dream”, he added.

With the competition gradually approaching the exciting knockout stages, Tshabalala also touched on the competition’s evolution and highly competitive nature – predicting that it will be a tournament of upsets.

“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” said Tshabalala.

The former Bafana Bafana’s bold prediction has certainly come to fruition with recent results that saw some of the tournament favourites (Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Algeria) not getting the desired results against their less fancied opponents.

More dramatic outcomes are expected as the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON Cote d’Ivoire 2023 continues with the last round of group matches to determine the 16 nations that will battle it out in the knockout stages of the competition.

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