Five things to know about the African Cup of Nations

Written by Kwame Anane
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Five things to know about the African Cup of Nations

It is this Saturday, January 13 that the 32nd edition of the CAN begins. An African Cup of Nations which is being contested this year in Gabon and which brings together, as always, the elite of African football. The opportunity to present in seven points a competition often criticized at a time when internationals leave their clubs in the middle of the season. A tournament which remains above all the biggest celebration of African football. All AFCON predictions points to Nigeria to win next edition.


African Champions and World Cup

Although the African Cup of Nations and the World Cup were contested in the same year between 1968 and 2010, this did not prevent the countries from shining in both competitions. There are even three of them who lifted the African trophy and participated in the final phase of the World Cup 4 months later. This was the case of Zaire in 1974, Nigeria in 1998 and Cameroon in 2002.

If some teams were able to reconcile the two, others participated in the global celebration without participating in the African competition. These are Morocco, twice in 1970 and 1974, Cameroon in 1994, Nigeria in 1998 and South Africa in 2010 (which however organized the CDM).

Egypt at the top of African football

With 7 victories, Egypt is the country having won the African Cup of Nations the most times. It is well ahead of Cameroon and Ghana who have only won it 4 times. Egypt lifted the cup in 1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010. The Pharaohs also hold the record for consecutive victories with 3 titles in a row (2006, 2008 and 2010) and the most prolific in a final (4-0 against Ethiopia in the first edition in 1957).

On the other hand, it is Ghana which has played the most finals with 9 appearances. It is also the country which has lost the most with 5 failures.

The reign of the “White Wizards”

Foreign coaches are popular with African teams. The “White Wizards”, as we like to call them there, will once again be in the majority during this African Cup. 13 foreign coaches are present with France (5) at the head of the countries represented, followed by Belgium (2), Portugal (2), Spain, Argentina, Serbia and Israel (1) .

Conversely, only three local coaches will sit on the Gabonese benches. They are Florent Ibenge (DR Congo), Aliou Cissé (Senegal) and Callisto Pasuwa (Zimbabwe).


Every 2 years… or almost

The African Cup of Nations is organized every two years since 1957, date of the first tournament. At least in theory. Because from the third edition scheduled for 1961, the CAN was postponed for a year because of the failed coup d’état in 1960 in the organizing country, Ethiopia. The delay in the renovation work pushed the organizers to finally play in 1962.

In 1968, the competition was organized three years after the last final phase. In question, a change of date. The tournament is now played every two years in even years, at the same time entering into direct conflict with the World Cup and the European Cup. It was only in 2013 that CAF decided to change its plans and reverse course by organizing the CAN in odd years.


Afcon in figures

  1. The number of goals conceded by Côte d’Ivoire in the 4 finals it played in (victory in 1992 and 2015).
  2. The number of titles won by Mahmoud El-Gohary with Egypt. He remains the most successful coach in the CAN.
  3. The number of goals scored in a single match. It was in 1963 between Egypt and Nigeria. Final score 6-3 for the Pharaohs.

9 (again). The number of goals scored in a single tournament this time by Mulumba Ndaye with Zaire. That was in 1974 and the record still stands.

  1. Down compared to 2015, the “Belgians” will still be 16 participating in the African Cup this year.
  2. This is the number of seconds it took Ayman Mansour (Egypt) to score the first goal of the match against Gabon in 1994. It remains the fastest goal in the competition.
  3. The number of penalties taken in the 1992 final between Ivory Coast and Ghana. It will ultimately be the Ivorians who will win by 11 shots on goal to 10.

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About the author

Kwame Anane

Hi, I'm Kwame Anane, a professional blogger, web and app developer, and overall I.T enthusiast. My passion for creating high-quality content means I take pleasure in providing you with an enriching experience. If you find my content valuable, please consider sharing it with your friends to spread positive vibes. Thank you for your continued support.