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Interesting facts about AFCON you should read

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Facts about AFCON
Interesting facts about AFCON you should read. Photo/ Punch Newspapers.
  • The latest edition of Africa’s biggest football tournament is about to start
  • There will be four weeks of football as 24 nations battle it out for the biggest prize in African football
  • Ivory Coast are hosting the tournament for a second time, having initially been the hosts in 1984

The latest edition of Africa’s biggest football tournament is about to start, so why not take a look at interesting facts about AFCON? The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations begins on Saturday with hosts Ivory Coast facing Guinea-Bissau in the opening match.

There will be four weeks of football as 24 nations battle it out for the biggest prize in African football. Senegal are the defending champions and will have a tough time trying to see off determined teams such as Ivory Coast, Egypt and Morocco. With that said, let’s take a look at interesting facts about AFCON.

Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane with the AFCON trophy Senegal won in 2022. Photo/ The News Nigeria.

When Was The First AFCON?

The first Africa Cup of Nations tournament took place in 1957, with only three nations participating. There was no qualifying games as the teams that participated were invited. Apart from the hosts Sudan, the other teams were Egypt and Ethiopia. South Africa received an invitation to take part in the tournament but their invitation was later withdrawn due to the country’s apartheid laws.

In the first game of the tournament, which took place on January 10, Egypt beat hosts Sudan 2-1. Raafat Attia scored the first ever goal at AFCON. Egypt went on to beat Ethiopia 4-0 in the final to become the first AFCON champions.

Who Has Won The Most AFCON Titles?

The AFCON title in 1957 was the first of seven that Egypt have won over the years, with the Pharaohs being the team with the most titles. They followed the 1957 triumph with another one two years later. In 1962, they were runners-up, losing to hosts Ethiopia. They had two other wins before the turn of the century where they dominated African football.

Egypt have reached the AFCON final in five of the last six tournaments that they have participated in, winning the 2006, 2008, and 2010 editions while finishing as runners-up in 2017 and the 2021. They only failed to do so in 2019 when they were the hosts.

The other nations that have won the most AFCON titles are Cameroon (five), followed by Ghana (four), Nigeria (three), and Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo (two each).

AFCON trophy

Egypt have won the most AFCON titles. Photo/ FIFA.

Who Is AFCON’s All-time Record Goalscorer?

AFCON’s all-time record goalscorer is Samuel Eto’o with 18 goals in 29 appearances. The Cameroon legend is followed by Ivory Coast’s Laurent Pokou, who scored 14 goals. Active players with the most goals are Ghana’s Andrew Ayew (10), Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar (9) and Senegal’s Sadio Mane (8).

Aboubakar will need to score ten goals in this year’s event if he is to surpass fellow countryman Samuel Eto’o and become AFCON’s all-time top scorer. He scored eight goals in the last edition of the Africa Cup of Nations where Cameroon were semi-finalists. The most goals scored by a player at a single tournament was 9 from Ndaye Mulamba (DR Congo) in 1974.

Other Facts About AFCON

  • Samuel Eto’o, Zambia’s Kalusha Bwalya and Ghanaian duo Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan are the only players to score in more AFCON editions. They have scored in six AFCON tournaments.
  • There are only 17 hat-tricks in AFCON history and were scored by 16 players. Ivory Coast’s Laurent Pokou is the only player to score a hat-trick involving five goals. Since Soufiane Alloudi’s three goals in Morocco’s 5-1 win over Namibia in the 2008 group stages, there has been no other hat-trick in AFCON.
  • Ghana and Egypt have been to nine AFCON finals. Whereas The Pharaohs have won seven, Ghana have managed four wins.
  • The last host nation to reach the AFCON finals was Egypt in 2006, and they did triumph.

For more facts about the Africa Cup of Nations as we wait for the tournament to begin, you can click on this link.

Conclusion

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations will be the 34th edition of the tournament since it was first held in 1957. Ivory Coast are hosting the tournament for a second time, having initially been the hosts in 1984. Well, if you’re wondering where to watch the AFCON games, Sky Sports will broadcast all the matches from January 13 to February 11 when the final will be played.

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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