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African Cup of Nations 2019

Dates: 15-Jun-2019 to 13-Jul-2019


The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification matches will be organized by the Confederation of African Football to decide the participating teams of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, the 32nd edition of the international men’s football championship of Africa.

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About the African Cup of Nations

The African Cup of Nations is the competition of national football teams organised by the African Football Confederation. It has been held at regular intervals of two years since 1968. The national team with the most titles is Egypt with seven.

Only three countries took part in the first African Cup of Nations in 1957: Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. Since then, more countries have been added to include almost all African countries, making a qualifying stage necessary. The number of participants in the final stage of the tournament has reached 16 teams since 1998.

From 2013 onwards, the tournament was held in odd-numbered years so as not to conflict with the FIFA World Cup. The African Nations Championship is also played. The difference between the two is that only active players from clubs in their own country take part in the Championship.


1950-1960: Origins

The origins of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations date back to June 1956, when the creation of the African Football Confederation was proposed during the third FIFA Congress in Lisbon. There were immediate plans for a continental tournament, but it was not until February 1957 that the first African Cup of Nations was held in Khartoum, Sudan. There was no qualification for this cup, the participants were the four founders of CAF (Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Africa). South Africa was disqualified from the first version as it proposed to have only white players.

Therefore, only two matches were played, Egypt was crowned as the first continental champion after defeating the Sudanese teams in the semi-final and Ethiopia in the final. Two years later, Egypt hosted the second CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Cairo with the participation of these same teams. In the second edition, Egypt, under the name of the United Arab Republic, won the continental championship for the second time in a row. For the 1962 edition, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the first time there was a qualifying round to determine the four teams that will play for the title. Ethiopia (as organiser), Egypt (as reigning champions) and Tunisia and Uganda (as winners of the qualifying round) qualified for this edition. Egypt won their third successive final, but it was Ethiopia who won.

1960: Ghanaian domination

In 1963, Ghana made its first appearance as host of the event and won the title after beating Sudan in the final. Two years later, Ghana were once again crowned tournament champions by beating Tunisia 3-0.

In the 1968 version, the number of teams increased from 6 to 8 participating teams and the number of participants in the qualifying rounds increased to 22. The classified teams were divided into 2 groups of 4 participants, with the two best teams from each group qualifying for the semifinals. This system was maintained until the 1992 cup. In this version, Congo Kinshasa (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) was crowned champion beating Ghana in the final. The 1970 tournament was the first televised cup, again Ghana reached the final for the fourth consecutive time, but would lose in the final to the host, Sudan.

1970: A decade of champions

In the 1970s, six nations won this tournament: Sudan, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo, Morocco, Ghana and Nigeria. Zaire, in the 1974 edition, would win their second title (the first one was won by the Democratic Republic of Congo) after facing Zambia in the final. For the only time in the history of the competition, the final of the tournament had to be repeated, after the teams of Zaire and Zambia tied at two, two days later, Zaire was crowned champion of the tournament. Three months earlier, Zaire became the first black African country to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. Morocco won their first title at the 1976 CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Ethiopia and Ghana had their third championship in 1978, becoming the first country to win three titles. In 1980, Nigeria won the tournament by defeating Algeria in the final.

1980: The dominance of Cameroon and Nigeria

Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi tried to organise the African Cup in 1982 in his home country to promote the ideas of the ‘Green Paper’.

In the 1982 cup, Ghana won their fourth title, defeating hosts Libya on penalties after drawing one during the ninety-minute period and in extra time. Cameroon won their first title two years later, beating Nigeria. In 1986, Egypt won their third title by defeating Cameroon on penalties in the final. Two years later, the 1984 cup final was repeated, Cameroon winning their second title by defeating Nigeria 1-0 in the final. In 1990, Algeria were crowned champions of the tournament, defeating Nigeria, who during the decade, managed to reach four of the five finals played in this tournament.

1990: South Africa’s return

The 1992 Nations Cup increased the number of participants in the final tournament to 12, the teams were divided into four groups of three, the best two of each group, went to the quarterfinals. The champion was Côte d’Ivoire, who defeated Ghana in the final. Ivory Coast was the first cup champion not to concede goals.

Two years later, Tunisia were humiliated when they were eliminated in the group stage as hosts. Nigeria, who months earlier had qualified for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, were crowned champions of the tournament when they defeated Zambia in the final. In 1996, after the eradication of Apartheid, South Africa was crowned champion of the tournament at home defeating Tunisia by 2 to 0.4 From this version, the number of participants was increased to 16, but Nigeria, due to political problems in their country, dropped from the competition, leaving 15 to the participating countries. Two years later, the tournament moved to Burkina Faso. South Africa reached the final again, but lost 2-0 to Egypt.

2000: Cameroon’s second championship and Egyptian dominance

In the 2000 edition, for the first time the organization was shared, Ghana and Nigeria were in charge of taking forward the organization, which replaced the originally designated Zimbabwe. After a 2-2 draw in extra time in the final, Cameroon defeated Nigeria on penalties and won the title for the third time. In 2002, Cameroon won the title again, being the third country to win it consecutively since Ghana had done so in the 1960s and after Egypt had done so earlier in 1957 and 1959. Once again, through penalty kicks, Cameroon defeated for the first time the finalists Senegal, who also debuted in the World Cup that same year. The two finalists were eliminated in the quarterfinals two years later in Tunisia, where the hosts won their first title, beating Morocco 2-1 in the final. The 2006 tournament was also won by the hosts, Egypt, who reached their fifth continental title. The 2008 tournament was presented by Ghana, Egypt once again winning its second championship, winning its sixth tournament by defeating Cameroon 1-0 in the final.6 Egypt set a new record in the 2010 tournament, which was presented by Angola, by winning its third consecutive title in an unprecedented African achievement after defeating Ghana 1-0 in the final, keeping the golden cup indefinitely and extending its mark to seven continental titles (including when Egypt was known as the United Arab Republic between 1958 and 1971). The tournament was presented by Angola, which won its third consecutive title in an unprecedented African achievement after defeating Ghana 1-0 in the final, keeping the golden cup indefinitely and extending its mark to seven continental titles (including when Egypt was known as the United Arab Republic between 1958 and 1971).

From 2012

Gabon and Equatorial Guinea jointly organized the 2012 edition, being the second time that two countries host the event. Zambia won their first championship after beating Côte d’Ivoire (0-0 t.s. 8:7 per penalty). For the 2013 edition, Nigeria defeated Burkina Faso 1-0 to become champions for the third time in their history. In 2015, it was Equatorial Guinea’s turn to host the tournament. Côte d’Ivoire were crowned champions after defeating Ghana (0-0 t.s. 9:8 per penalty). Also, the Democratic Republic of Congo was again among the top four teams in the tournament after 17 years. Gabon is organising this year’s edition of the tournament (2017), which began on 14 January and ended on 5 February, consecrating Cameroon as the reigning champions.

The Trophy

Throughout the history of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, three different trophies have been designed for the winners of the competition. First, the original bronze trophy was named Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem trophy bears the name of the first president of CAF, the Egyptian Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem. When Ghana took the title for the third time in 1978, they earned the right to keep it forever.

A second trophy was brought into play between 1980 and 2000, called the African Unity Trophy, was transferred from the Higher Council for Sports in Africa to CAF in 1980. The Olympic rings were inscribed with a map of Africa. Cameroon, on the occasion of its third victory of the competition during this period, was able to hold the trophy permanently.

Since 2001, a third trophy is awarded in game in each edition, gold-plated, it is a tower on top of which there is a world, which includes Africa, which was designed and manufactured in Italy by the same company for the FIFA World Cups.