Afcon Facts

Afcon Facts

The Africa Cup of Nations begins on Friday June 21.
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* The 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations will be the 32nd edition since the competition started in 1957.  

* AFCON started with 3 Nations: Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in 1957, and since then the number of participants in the tournament continued to increase until it reached 16 in 1998. 

* The number of participating countries would have reached 16 in 1996 but Nigeria withdrew, reducing the teams to 15 and same happened in 2010 when Togo withdrew from the final tournament following an attack on their players by unknown rebels.

* The 2019 tournament will be the first African Cup of Nations expanded from 16 to 24 teams since CAF Executive Committee approved the propositions at a meeting in Rabat, Morocco on 20th July, 2017. CAF also switched the competition from January to Summer effective from Friday 21st June, 2019 - Friday July, 2019. 

* The 32nd edition will be  the fifth time that Egypt will host the African Cup after 1959, 1974, 1986 and 2006 to become the country that has hosted it for the most times.

* Only six Stadiums will be used for the tournament. The six venues are: Cairo International Stadium, 30 June Stadium in Cairo, Alexandria Stadium in Alexandria, Suez Stadium in Suez,  Ismailia Stadium in Ismailia and Al Salam Stadium in Cairo.

* Since the competition started, 39 New countries have featured. Burundi and Madagascar will have their debut games on Saturday 22nd June, 2019 while Mauritania plays on Monday 24th June, 2019, and the number will be 42 Nations since 1957.

* Only Fourteen (14) new countries have won the title so far with Egypt been the most successful country with 7 titles, followed by Cameroon (5), Ghana (4), Nigeria (3), Ivory Coast (2), Dr Congo (2), Zambia (1), Tunisia (1), Algeria (1), Morocco (1), South Africa (1), Congo (1) and Ethiopia (1). 

* Zambia are the 14th new country and the last new country so far to win the Nations Cup title in 2012 a.e.t. Zambia 8-7 Ivory Coast (penalties) in Gabon/Equatorial Guinea. 

* Egypt (1957), Ghana (1963) and South Africa (1996) are the only countries to have won the AFCON tournament in their debut appearance.

* In-terms of appearances, Egypt have 24, Ivory Coast (22), Ghana (21), Cameroon (18), Dr Congo (18), Tunisia (18), Nigeria (17), Zambia (17), Algeria (17), Morocco (16), Senegal (14), Guinea (11), Burkina Faso (11), Mali (10), Ethiopia (10), South Africa (9), Sudan (8), Togo (8), Gabon (7), Angola (7), Congo (7), Uganda (6), Kenya (5), Mozambique (4), Libya (3), Benin (3), Zimbabwe (3), Equatorial Guinea (2),  Cape Verde (2), Liberia (2), Malawi (2), Sierra Leone (2), Namibia (2), Niger (2), Rwanda (1), Tanzania (1), Guinea-Bissau (1), Mauritius (1) and Botswana (1). 

* Since the inception of the Afcon, three different trophies have been awarded to the winners of the competition. The first trophy was named after the first CAF president, Egyptian Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem. Ghana as the first winner of three African Cup of Nations tournaments, they obtained the right to permanently hold the trophy in 1978.

* The second trophy by name Trophy of African Unity or African Unity Cup was awarded from 1980 to 2000. It was donated to CAF by the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa prior to the 1980 tournament and Cameroon won the Unity Cup indefinitely after they became three time Champions in 2000.

* The third trophy was unvealed in 2001, a gold-plated cup designed and made in Italy. Cameroon were the first country to be awarded the new trophy after they won the 2002 edition. 

* Egypt won the gold-plated cup indefinitely after they became three-time Champions in 2010, in an unprecedented achievement by winning three consecutive continental titles. Egypt were presented with a special full size replica that they were allowed to keep unlike the previous winners: Ghana and Cameroon who were allowed to keep the original trophy.
Egypt will be hosts for a record fifth time. They previously staged the Cup of Nations in 1959, 1974, 1986 and 2006, winning three of those four tournaments and finishing third in the other.

* Only three countries, hosts Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia, took part in the first tournament in February 1957 and there was no qualifying competition.

* 2019 will be the first time the tournament features 24 teams, after CAF decided to expand the tournament in order to enhance competitiveness.

* The most successful country has been Egypt with seven titles followed by Cameroon (five), Ghana (four), Nigeria (three) and the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Ivory Coast (two each).

* Madagascar, Burundi and Mauritania will be making their debuts at the tournament in 2019. 12 teams are yet to qualify for Africa’s biggest football tournament, including Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Gambia, Lesotho, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Somalia and South Sudan.

 * Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o is the leading overall Cup of Nations scorer, notching 18 goals in six tournaments between 2000 and 2010.

* Egypt goalkeeper Essam el Hadary became the oldest player at 44 years and 21 days to feature in the tournament when he faced Cameroon in the 2017 final in Libreville.

* Shiva N’zigou of Gabon is the youngest player to feature, and score at the tournament. He was 16 years old and 93 days when he played at AFCON in 2000, scoring in a 1-3 defeat against South Africa.

* The tournament has been switched to being held in odd-numbered years so as not to clash with the FIFA World Cup. AFCON will also for the first time this year, be held mid-year, away from the traditional January – February window, to alleviate the club-versus-country battles that have marred previous editions.

 * Three different trophies have been awarded during the tournament’s history. The current trophy was first awarded in 2002, and Egypt won it indefinitely after completing their historic treble of titles in 2010.

* Ivory Coast won the 1992 title without conceding a single goal in their five-match campaign. Cameroon did the same 10 years later.

* Ivory Coast didn't score any goal from open play during the four finals they played in 1992, 2006, 2013 and 2015 as they were held to 0-0 draw in all games.

* Egyptian legend Mohamed Diab El-Attar “El-Diba” is the only player to have scored four goals in a final game - Egypt’s 4-0 victory over Ethiopia in 1957.

* The first goal of the African Cup of Nations was scored by Egyptian forward Raafat Attia, who converted a penalty against Sudan in 1957. The 1000th goal was also a penalty converted by Nigeria's Captain Austin Jay-Jay Okocha in 2004 in Tunisia. The 1500th goal was scored by Ghana midfielder Mubarak Wakaso in 2015.

* For the first time in CAN history, the 2000 tournament was held in two countries, Ghana and Nigeria.

* In 1982, the Confederation of African Football rescinded the two-player limit on foreign based players for each national team, allowing all the countries to use their best stars. Before 1967, no foreign-based players were eligible to play in the Nations Cup.

* The African Cup of Nations was televised for the first time in the 1970 edition in Sudan.

* The 1970 final was the only one which had to be replayed as Zaire were held to a 2-2 draw by Zambia in the final. Two days later, Zaire defeated Zambia 2-0 at Cairo Stadium to claim the title.

* The competition initially started with three teams in 1957, expanded to four teams in 1962, six in 1963, eight in 1968, 12 in 1992 and 16 in 1998.

* The Confederation of African football (CAF) decided to hold CAN in odd-numbered years starting 2013 to avoid playing in the same year of the World Cup. Coaches and players from African countries that qualified for World Cups had previously complained about a packed schedule. The CAN has been played in even years since 1968.

* Nigeria used three captains during their game against Benin in CAN 2010. Captain Joseph Yobo started the game but had to be replaced because of injury. He gave the captain's armband to Yakubu Aiyegbeni, who was also substituted as the armband was finally given to Osaze Odenwengie. The Super Eagles ended up having three captains in one match.

* During the 1965 edition in Tunisia, the hosts reached the final game via a coin tossing as they were level with Senegal on the number of points and goal difference. The Tunisians lost the final 3-2 against Ghana. A coin toss was also used in 1988, helping Algeria reach the semi-finals at the expense of Ivory Coast. Just like Tunisia, Algeria were unfortunate in the semi-finals as they lost to Nigeria 9-8 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.

* The 1959 edition in Egypt featured only three participants: Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. The trio had three coaches from Eastern Europe: Czechoslovakians Jiri Starosta (Ethiopia) and Josef Hada (Sudan) and Hungarian Pal Titkos (Egypt). Titkos led the Pharaohs to the title.

* Given that South Africa were one of the founders of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), they were due to play in the first CAN edition in 1957 but were suspended because of their apartheid regime, as they intended to play with a squad including only Caucasians. They made a victorious return in 1996 when they won the title on home soil.

* Egypt forward Mohamed Nagy “Gedo” is the best ever substitute in the history of CAN, having finished the 2010 edition as the top scorer with five goals scored off the bench.

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  • Isaac Amponsah (Dr Ike) and Bright Yeboah Taylor (BYT)