AFTER a long struggle to be recognized by FIFA as a Football Zone; Africa was finally recognized as a FIFA Zone in 1954 during a FIFA Congress held in Bern Switzerland. Later in another FIFA Congress at Lisbon Portugal in 1956; Africa’s Pioneer Representatives led by Egypt, Sudan and South Africa decided to form an African Football Confederation that would oversee Africa’s Inter-Nations Football Competition. A Constitutional Meeting between these Three Countries also attended by Ethiopia held on February 1957 at Khartoum Sudan founded the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and organized the Historic First “Africa Cup of Nations” (AFCON) that kicked off on February 10, 1957 at Khartoum Sudan.
By then only Sudan and Egypt had gained their Independence in Africa, South Africa was still under the White Apartheid Regime, Ethiopia was never colonised. The newly formed CAF disqualified South Africa from this inaugural Tournament for defying CAF’s requirement to have a Multi-racial Team. This only left 3 Teams in Competition. Egypt won this inaugural AFCON 1st Edition Title after beating Ethiopia 4-0 in the Final Match.
HERE IS A SERIES OF AFCON CHAMPIONS TO DATE
- 1959-2nd Edition held in Egypt where still the 3 Inaugural 1st Edition Teams participated. Egypt won their Second Title after beating Sudan 2-1
- 1962-3rd Edition in Ethiopia where 6 more Teams joined the Competition to make a Total of 9. Ethiopia lifted its first Title after beating Egypt 4-2 on Extra Time
- 1963-4th Edition in Ghana.6 Teams: Ghana lifted its first Title after beating Sudan 3-0
- 1965-5th Edition in Tunisia.6 Teams; Ghana lifted its second Title after beating Hosts Tunisia 3-2
- 1968-6th Edition in Ethioia.8 Teams: DR Congo lifted its first Title after beating Ghana 1-0
- 1970-7th Edition in Sudan.8 Teams: Sudan lifted its first Title after beating Ghana 1-0. This was the first Televised AFCON Tournament
- 1972-8th Edition in Cameroon.8 Teams; Congo-Brazzaville lifted its first Title after beating Mali 3-2
- 1974-9th Edition in Egypt.8 Teams; DR Congo lifted its second Title after beating Zambia 2-0
- 1976-10th Edition in Ethipia.8 Teams; Morocco lifted its first Title after beating Guinea with 5 Points to Guinea’s 4
- 1978-11th Edition in Ghana.8 Teams; Ghana lifted its third Title after beating Uganda 2-0
- 1980-12th Edition in Nigeria.8 Teams; The Host Nigeria lifted its first Title after beating Algeria 3-0
- 1982-13th Edition in Libya.8 Teams; Ghana lifted its fourth Title after beating Hosts Libya on Penalty shoot-out
- 1984-14th Edition in Ivory Coast.8 Teams; Cameroon lifted its first Title after beating Nigeria 3-1
- 1986-15th Edition in Egypt.8 Teams; Egypt the Host lifted its third Title after beating Cameroon on Penalty shoot-out
- 1988-16th Edition in Morocco.8 Teams; Cameroon lifted its second Title after beating Nigeria 1-0
- 1990-17th Edition in Algeria.8 Teams; Host Algeria lifted its first Title after beating Nigeria 1-0
- 1992-18th Edition in Senegal.4 more Teams joined the Competition to make a Total of 12; Ivory Coast won its first Title after beating Ghana on Penalty shoot-out
- 1994-19th Edition in Tunisia.12 Teams; Nigeria lifted its second Title after beating Zambia 2-1
- 1996-20th Edition in South Africa.4 more Teams joined the Competition to make a Total of 16; Host South Africa lifted its first Title after beating Tunisia 2-0
- 1998-21st Edition in Burkina Faso.16 Teams; Egypt lifted its fourth Title after beating South Africa 2-0
- 2000-22nd Edition jointly hosted by Ghana and Nigeria.16 Teams; Cameroon lifted its third Title after beating Nigeria on Penalty shoot-out
- 2002-23rd Edition in Mali.16 Teams; Cameroon lifted its fourth Title after beating Senegal on Penalty shoot-out
- 2004-24th Edition in Tunisia.16 Teams; Host Tunisia lifted its first Title after beating Morocco 2-1
- 2006-25th Edition in Egypt.16 Teams; Host Egypt lifted its fifth Title after beating Ivory Coast on Penalty shoot-out
- 2008-26th Edition in Ghana.16 Teams; Egypt lifted its sixth Title after beating Cameroon 1-o
- 2010-27th Edition in Angola.16 Teams; Egypt lifted its seventh Title for a third time in a row after beating Ghana 1-0
- 2012-28th Edition jointly hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.16 Teams; Zambia lifted its first Title after beating Ivory Coast on Penalty shoot-out
- 2013-29th Edition in South Africa.16 Teams; Nigeria lifted its third Title after beating Burkina Faso 1-0
- 2015-30th Edition in Equatorial Guinea.16 Teams; Ivory Coast lifted its second Title after beating Ghana on Penalty shoot-out
- 2017-31st Edition in Gabon.16 Teams; Cameroon lifted its fifth Title after beating Egypt 2-1
- 2019-32nd Edition in Egypt.24 Teams; Algeria lifted its Second AFCON Title after beating Senegal 1-0
The 32nd Edition of AFCON was held in Egypt from Friday June 21st to Friday July 19th 2019
CAF expanded participation from the usual 16 Teams since 1996 to 24 in a bid to make the Tournament more competitive. The 32nd Edition saw New Fist-timers like Madagascar, Burundi and Mauritania with Madagascar pulling a Surprise by going all the way to the Quarter Finals in their Debut to AFCON.
In 2013 CAF set the AFCON Year to always be on Odd Number Years after every two Years to avoid clashing with FIFA World Cup Year that falls on Even Years and also give African Teams ample time to prepare for the World Cup. CAF has also this year rescheduled the Months of AFCON from the usual January-February to June-July to avoid clashing with the European Leagues Calendar where a good number of African Players are involved.
AFCON Quick Facts
- Egypt is the Most Successful African Team in AFCON History with a Record of 7 Titles followed by Cameroon 5, Ghana with 4 and Nigeria with 3 Titles
- Egypt has made the highest number of appearances in AFCON now with a record of 24 followed by Ivory Coast at 23 and Ghana at 22
- Egypt has hosted AFCON for the highest number of times now at a record of 5 Times followed by Ghana at 4 Times
- For the Past Four Times Egypt has hosted AFCON Tournaments it has only lost once in the 1974 AFCON.
- Former Cameroonian Striker Samuel Etoo still holds the record of AFCON’s greatest scorer with a record of 18 Goals in his 6 appearances in AFCON. He has also won CAF’s ‘African Player of the Year’ Award for Four Times
- Former Ivory Coast Striker Laurent Pokou still holds the record of the highest number of Goals scored by one Man in One Match where he scored a record of 5 Goals for Ivory Coast in the 1970 AFCON against Ethiopia in the Group stages. He actually comes second to Samuel Etoo In the list of AFCON Top Scorers of all time
- Former Ivory Coast Captain Yaya Toure shocked Africa when he Won CAF’s “African Player of the Year Award” for a record of Four Times in a row
- Former Egypt Goalkeeper Essam El Hadary won the now defunct CAF “Goalkeeper of the Year Award” in 2001 and later in 2006,2008 and 2010 when he helped his National Team Egypt to lift the AFCON Title for 3 Times in a row
- Former Liberian Striker now the 25th President of Liberia Sir George Weah shocked the World when he bagged the 1995 CAF “African Player of the Year Award”, the Prestigious FIFA “World Player of the Year” Award and the “Ballon D’or”. He is the only African Footballer to ever Win these Two Awards to Date
- Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Seychelles, Somalia, Sao Tome and Principe, South Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Lesotho and Gambia have NEVER QUALIFIED for AFCON since its Inception.