Africa Cup of Nations history
The 31st edition of the African Cup of Nations will kickoff on the 31 January, 2017 at Gabon, with each of the sixteen national teams hoping to be crowned ‘Continental Kings’. The tournament was scheduled to be hosted by Libya, until CAF rescinded its hosting rights in August 2014 due to ongoing war in the country.
What makes this year’s AFCON special is the fact that it will be celebrating its 60th Anniversary since its inception in 1957. In fact it is older than its counterpart in Europe, the European Championship, which only began three years later. The winner of this year’s AFCON will represent Africa in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
Going back to 1957, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia were the only participating nations, while South Africa was declared ineligible to play because of the apartheid movement of the government then in power, preventing them from playing for almost 40 years.
Since then, the tournament has grown greatly, making it necessary to hold a qualifying tournament. In 1996 saw 15 nations participating in the tournament, even though 16 were to compete but Nigeria withdrew. In 1998 saw the participating teams reach 16, and that continued until 2010 when Togo’s withdrawal left 15 nations in the tournament.
Egypt has won the African Cup of Nations a record seven times including winning the inaugural edition making them the most successful nation in the cup’s history. Ghana and Cameroon come second with four titles each to their name.
Three different trophies have been awarded during the tournament’s history, with Ghana and Cameroon winning the first two versions to keep after each of them won a tournament three times. The current trophy was first awarded in 2002 and with Egypt winning it indefinitely after winning their unprecedented third consecutive title in 2010.
The Pharaohs have also been the most dominant side of recent times, winning three tournaments in a row between 2006 and 2010, but then failing to qualify until they make a return in Gabon in 2017 after much upheaval in their domestic football caused by the Arab Spring.
The Black Stars of Ghana made its first appearance in 1963, hosting the event and won it after beating Sudan in the final. They repeated that as they became champions two years later in Tunisia with a squad that included only two returning members from the 1963 team to equal Egypt’s record as two-time winners.
The last time Ghana won was in 1982, meaning they have had a 35-year wait for their next title that they hope will be ended in Libreville on February 5, having also been losing finalists in 1992, 2010 and 2015.
The Democratic Republic of Congo who also previously went by the name of Zaire won its first title, beating Ghana in the final in 1968 and then won again in 1974. Sudan as the hosts claimed their one and only trophy win in 1970, while Congo-Brazzaville did likewise in 1972.
Nigeria won their first of three titles in 1980 before repeating the triumph in 1994 and then again with a surprising win in 2013 as their young side, led by the late Stephen Keshi, defied expectations to go all the way.
Cameroon’s rise to power on the continent came in the 1980s when they won the Nations Cup in 1984 and 1988, before another two further successes in 2000 and 2002.
Côte d’Ivoire forward Laurent Pokou led the 1968 and 1970 tournaments in scoring, with six and eight goals respectively, and his total of 14 goals remained the all-time record until 2008.
Cote d’Ivoire’s have had some recent heartache, but also the sweet taste of victory and go into the Gabon tournament as holders after winning two years ago in Equatorial Guinea to go with a 1992 triumph.
But their Golden Generation that contained the likes of Didier Drogba, Boubacar Barry, Kolo Toure and Didier Zakora were also losing finalists in 2006 and 2012, never quite managing to reach their full potential.
The Ivorians’ victory 25 years ago over Ghana was among the more remarkable finals played, despite it finishing 0-0 in Senegal. The game went to post-match penalties and amid unbelievable tension, The Elephants triumphed 11-10 in the shoot-out.
They were beaten on penalties by Zambia five years ago in what was perhaps the biggest shock final defeat. Zambia’s victorious coach in that decider was Herve Renard, who would go on to lead the Ivorians to the title in 2015.
Other winners of the trophy are Morocco (1976), Algeria (1990), South Africa (1996) and Tunisia (2004), making it a fairly exclusive group of just 14 countries to have won the title in the previous 30 installments of the competition.
Africa Cup of Nations winners list 2000-2017
Here is the list with all Africa Cup of Nations Winners during 2000-2017:
|2015||Ivory Coast||Ivory Coast|
Africa Cup of Nations winners list 1957-1998
Here is the list with all Africa Cup of Nations Winners during 1957-1998:
|1996||South Africa||South Africa|
|1992||Ivory Coast||Ivory Coast|
|1974||Congo DR||Congo DR|
|1968||Congo DR||Congo DR|