The millions that slipped through Angola fingers in AFCON quarterfinal heartache

FOOTBALL The millions that slipped through Angola fingers in AFCON quarterfinal heartache

Festus Chuma 12:01 - 03.02.2024

Angola's Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal loss to Nigeria has costed them potential millions in prize money.

Angola's journey in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) ended in disappointment as they were narrowly defeated by Nigeria missing out on the chance to earn millions in prize money.

The Palancas Negras journey came to a halt after a tightly contested match against Nigeria, ending in a slim 1-0 defeat courtesy of Ademola Lookman's decisive goal. 

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has set lucrative financial incentives for the participating teams with the champions poised to earn a whopping $7 million. 

Runners-up have been promised a substantial $4 million, while teams bowing out in the semifinals will receive $2.5 million. 

For Angola, this meant that their elimination translated to missing out on a potential leap from the $1.3 million for losing quarterfinalists to much higher earnings.

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The Angolan Diamond Trading Company (SODIAM) had added to the stakes by pledging an additional $250,000 if the team had reached the semifinal, a milestone that remained tantalizingly out of reach. 

This collective sum represents not just a financial loss but also a narrative of what could have been a transformative moment for Angolan football.

Patrice Motsepe, President of the CAF, has been vocal about the motivational power of financial incentives in the sport. 

"Many of the players [at AFCON] don't earn the same money, and I have learned over the last 20 years, if you increase the money that goes into the pockets of the players, and tell them 'We have increased the prize money' it inspires them immensely," Motsepe remarked in an interview with BBC Sport Africa. 

The tournament has been a crucible of unexpected outcomes, with several pre-tournament favorites, including the reigning champions Senegal, the 2022 World Cup semi-finalists Morocco, and former winners Egypt and Algeria, making early exits. 

As Nigeria advances to face the winner of the quarter-final between Cape Verde and South Africa, Angola is left to reflect on a campaign that was as much about financial gains as it was about footballing glory. 

The Palancas Negras performance while commendable fell short of unlocking the full financial potential that AFCON 2023 had to offer.

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