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AFCON 23: A brief overview of Africa’s biggest football competition

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The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), which was postponed last year, will kick off on Saturday, with hosts Ivory Coast locking horns with Guinea-Bissau in the tournament’s opener at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium at 8 pm GMT.

The two-time champions will be hoping to make history under the helm of veteran coach Jean-Louis Gasset in the 34th edition of the continental showpiece.

The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), which started in 1957, is the leading international men’s football tournament on the African continent. From a small tournament that featured only three teams in the inaugural edition, AFCON has become the biggest football event in Africa and now includes 24 countries in the main draw and 52 in the qualifying stage.

Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan were the only teams that competed in the maiden edition in 1957, with the North African side, Egypt, becoming the first AFCON winners after beating Ethiopia 4-0 in the final.

The current all-time top scorer of the AFCON is former Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Cameroon legend Samuel Eto’o with 18 goals, followed by Laurent Pokou of Ivory Coast with 14.

One of the favorites for the 2023 AFCON is Egypt, the most successful team in the AFCON winners list, claiming the title seven times, including a three-peat between 2006 and 2010.

Cameroon is the next most successful team in AFCON with five titles to their name, followed closely by the Black Stars of Ghana, who have also clinched the coveted trophy four times.

The defending champions, under the auspices of the former Liverpool star Sadio Mane and head coach Aliou Cisse, Senegal, won the AFCON 2021 after beating Egypt on penalties in the final. It was Senegal’s first-ever triumph at the continental showpiece.

Previous Winners

  • 1957 – Egypt
  • 1959 – Egypt
  • 1962 – Ethiopia
  • 1963 – Ghana
  • 1965 – Ghana
  • 1968 – DR Congo
  • 1970 – Sudan
  • 1972 – Congo
  • 1974 – DR Congo
  • 1976 – Morocco
  • 1978 – Ghana
  • 1980 – Nigeria
  • 1982 – Ghana
  • 1984 – Cameroon
  • 1986 – Egypt
  • 1988 – Cameroon
  • 1990 – Algeria
  • 1992 – Ivory Coast
  • 1994 – Nigeria
  • 1996 – South Africa
  • 1998 – Egypt
  • 2000 – Cameroon
  • 2002 – Cameroon
  • 2004 – Tunisia
  • 2006 – Egypt
  • 2008 – Egypt
  • 2010 – Egypt
  • 2012 – Zambia
  • 2013 – Nigeria
  • 2015 – Ivory Coast
  • 2017 – Cameroon
  • 2019 – Algeria
  • 2021 – Senegal

What Stadiums will the matches be played?

The six FIFA international level stadiums in Côte d’Ivoire, set to host the 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), are:

  • Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan (capacity 60,000)
  • Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan (capacity 33,000)
  • Charles Konan Banny Stadium, Yamoussoukro (capacity 20,000)
  • Stade de la Paix, Bouake (capacity 40,000)
  • Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium, Korhogo (capacity 20,000)
  • Laurent Pokou Stadium, San Pedro (capacity 20,000)

Qualified Teams for the tour and their various groups

  • Group A – Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau
  • Group B – Egypt, Ghana, Cape Verde, and Mozambique
  • Group C – Senegal, Cameroon, Guinea, and The Gambia
  • Group D – Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Angola
  • Group E – Tunisia, Mali, South Africa, and Namibia
  • Group F – Morocco, DR Congo, Zambia, and Tanzania

The top two nations in each group and the four best third-placed teams will qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament.

Which Countries Hosted & Won Africa Cup of Nations?

  1. Egypt has hosted the tournament five times, the most by any country. They hosted the tournament in 1959, 1974, 1986, 2006, and 2019, where the North African giants also won the title three times as the host nation, in 1959, 1986, and 2006.
  2. Ghana has hosted the AFCON four times, in 1963, 1978, 2000, and 2008. The West African country also won the title twice as the host nation, in 1963 and 1978.
  3. Sudan has hosted the football competition twice, in 1957 and 1970, where they also won the title once as the host nation, in 1970.
  4. Tunisia has hosted the AFCON on three occasions, in 1965, 1994, and 2004. The North African country also won the title once as the host nation, in 2004.
  5. Nigeria has hosted the AFCON twice, in 1980 and 2000. The West African country also won the title once as the host nation, in 1980. In 2000, Nigeria co-hosted the tournament with neighbors, Ghana, and finished as the runner-up.
  6. South Africa has hosted the African tournament three times, in 1996, 2013, and 2022. The country also won the title once as the host nation, in 1996.
  7. Ethiopia has hosted the championship three times, in 1962, 1968, and 1976. Ethiopia also won the title once as the host nation, in 1962.
  8. Algeria has hosted the AFCON only once, in 1990, and won the title that year, beating Nigeria 1-0 in the final.

How many coaches have previously won the AFCON?

Just three of the 24 coaches competing in the 2023 AFCON have won an AFCON championship previously. Hugo Broos won it with Cameroon in 2017, Djamel Belmadi with Algeria in 2019, and Aliou Cissé with Senegal in 2021.

Where to Watch AFCON 2023?

AFCON 2023 will be shown free-to-air on the CAF YouTube channel, and exclusive rights owner New World TV will sublicense other broadcasters to make it available on free-to-air stations in other African countries. Ghanaian broadcasters GTV Sports Plus will also show the AFCON live in Ghana.

SuperSport channels on the pay-TV platforms, DStv and GOtv, confirmed on Wednesday that they will broadcast all 52 games in the AFCON, despite an earlier announcement of their failure to secure the TV rights for the event.

The AFCON Winner’s Prize Money has been increased to USD 7,000,000, marking a remarkable 40% surge from the previous.

Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1Mhz|Pius Asack|Ghana

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