The first two months of 2022 have been billed for the all important 24-nation showpiece set to shake the continent of Africa down to its roots.
All roads have begun to lead to Cameroon the host nation for the 33rd edition of the tourney.
In light of this, it is imperative for the esteemed readers of ojbsports.com to be apprised of the history and major facts of the competition that kicks off on Sunday, 9th January 2022.
The Africa Cup Of Nations is referred to as (AFCON) for short and it was first played in 1957 in Sudan who were the inaugural hosts and it was won by the Pharaohs of Egypt who would go on to be the most successful team in the history of the competition winning the title on a record seven times.
That tournament was only played by three nations namely Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. Although South Africa were scheduled to be a part but could not join due to apartheid issues in the country then.
The number of participants reached 16 in 1998 and further peaked 24 in the 2019 edition as well as the competition being moved from January to June.
The 16 teams then used to make up of four groups with four teams each of which the top two advance to the knockouts beginning from the Quarterfinals.
Since 1968, it has been held every two years, switching to odd-numbered years in 2013 so as to prevent it from clashing with the World Cup. Algeria is the current Cup champion.
The Egyptians are the side with most appearances as they have played 100 games having participated in a record 25 editions. They (1957) alongside Ghana (1963) and South Africa (1996) are the only sides to have won the tournament in their debut appearance.
They have also won most titles winning on seven occasions and are followed by Cameroon with five titles, Ghana four and Nigeria three.
Although the Super Eagles of Nigeria have won the tournament just three times but they have the most podium finishes having finished among the top three on a record 15 occasions (three golds, four Silvers and eight bronzes).
Egypt have hosted the tournament the most having welcomed the rest of Africa five times with the last being in 2019.
Nigeria has also hosted the Afcon twice in 1980 and 2000 while current hosts Cameroon will be hosting for the second time having hosted in 1972.
The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia have appeared at the Afcon on 15 straight occasions (1994-2021), the most by any national team.
However out of over 50 nations in Africa, at least 10 are yet to participate in the competition, they are: Central Africa Republic, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Lesotho, Sao Tomé and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia and South Sudan.
Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o Fils is Afcon’s all time topscorer. The former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker scored 18 goals for the Indomitable Lions during his time.
Fellow Cameroonian Rigobert Song and Egypt’s Ahmed Hassan have participated in mkst Afcon tournaments as a player with five edition s appearance each.
Most goals scored by a player in a single tournament s nine goals scored by Laurent Pokou.
Ghana’s Charles Gyamfi (1963, 1965 and 1982) and Egypt’s Hassan Shehata (2006, 2008 and 2010) have won most titles as a manager.
Also Hassan Shehata is the coach who has the most consecutive titles having won three straight.
Frenchman Hervé Renard is the only manager to have won the Afcon with more than one country winning with Zambia in 2012 and Ivory Coast in 2015.
Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary (1959 | 1998) and Nigeria’s Stephen Keshi (1994 | 2013) are the only two individuals to have won Afcon as a player and as a coach
Mahmoud El-Gohary of Egypt alongside Aliou Cisse of Senegal are the two individuals who played in the Afcon final as a player and as a coach while El-Gobary won 1959 final as a player and won 1998 final as a manager,
Aliou Cissé lost 2002 final as a player and lost 2019 final as a manager.
Cameroon is ready as this year’s hosts with parades going on on streets, also teams have been arriving to the West-African nation and all is set for the continental showpiece to go down.
All the talking points from the 2021 Total Africa Cup Of Nations will be posted on ojbsports.com as they happen in real time.
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Image Credits: Steve Labile