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Fact-File on the Africa Cup of Nations as draw ceremony holds on Thursday



Super Eagles with seven third place finish are record holders in that category

The Africa Cup of Nations holding in Cote d’Ivoire is the 34th edition. CAFOnline and Sports Village Square take a look at some interesting records and statistics of the tournament ahead of its 34th edition. 

  • Nigeria have played the final match seven times in 1980, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1994, 2000 and 2013.
  • Nigeria placed third on a record eight times – 1976, 1978, 1992, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010 and  2019.
  • Nigeria have had a podium finish on 15 instances -1976, 1978, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2019.
  • The first AFCON tournament took place in Sudan in 1957.
  • Only three countries, hosts Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia, took part in the first tournament in February 1957 and there was no qualifying competition.
  • South Africa were also invited to the first Africa Cup of Nations tournament in 1957 but their invitation was later withdrawn as a result of the countries apartheid laws.
  • Egypt defeated hosts Sudan in the first game played at the AFCON winning 2-1 on 10thJanuary 1957.
  • Raafat Attia scored the first goal at an AFCON tournament when he opened the scoring for Egypt in their 2-1 Semi-final win over hosts Sudan in 1957.
  • Egypt defeated Ethiopia 4-0 in the final to win the first AFCON Tournament in 1957.
  • Egypt won the first two AFCON Tournaments in 1957 and 1959 while they were runners up in 1962, losing to hosts Ethiopia in the final.
  • Cote d’ Ivoire are hosting the Africa Cup of Nations for a second time, they hosted the tournament for the first time in 1984.
  • When the Cote d’Ivoire hosted the AFCON in 1984 eight nations participated five of those countries will be joining the hosts again they are Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana and Nigeria. Missing out are Malawi and Togo.
  • Egypt have won the most AFCON titles (seven), followed by Cameroon (five), Ghana (four), Nigeria (three) and the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire (two each).
  • Egypt and Ghana have both reached nine AFCON finals while Egypt have won seven, Ghana have four wins while Cameroon have played in seven finals winning five.
  • Cote d’Ivoire have appeared in four AFCON Finals in 1992, 2006, 2012 and 2015 and in 480 minutes of play in AFCON finals have failed to produce a single goal they won on penalties after extra time in 1992 and 2015 and lost on penalties after extra time in 2006, 2012 with all four games ending 0-0.
  • Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o is the leading overall Cup of Nations scorer, notching 18 goals in six tournaments between 2000 and 2010.
  • Egypt goalkeeper Essam el Hadary became the oldest player at 44 years and 21 days to feature in the tournament when he faced Cameroon in the 2017 final in Libreville as Egypt lost.
  • Only once in 2013 when South Africa played out a 0-0 draw against Cape Verde has the opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations ended 0-0.
  • The last host nation to reach the AFCON Finals was Egypt who won the title on home soil in 2006.
  • Egypt have reached the AFCON Final in five of the last six tournaments that they have participated in winning in 2006, 2008 and 2010 while they were runners up in 2017 and the 2021 edition. They only failed to do so in 2019 as hosts.
  • Four players Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o, Ghanaian duo Asamoah Gyan as well as Andre Ayew and Zambia’s Kalusha Bwalya have scored in 6 AFCON Tournaments no players have scored in more editions of the competition than them.
  • The 2023 AFCON will be the 34thedition of the tournament since its founding in 1957.
  • The AFCON has been expanded from a 16 tournament which it has been since 1996 to a 24- team event in 2019.
  • This is the third edition to have 24 teams participating.
  • 16 Players have scored 17 hat-tricks at the Africa Cup of Nations but none since Soufiane Alloudi scored three goals in Morocco’s 5-1 triumph over Namibia in the 2008 Group Stages.
  • Egypt have had five different players scoring six AFCON hat-trick no country has managed as many players to have scored a hat-trick at the tournament.
  • The first hat-trick at the Africa Cup of Nations was scored by Ad-Diba who scored all four of Egypt’s goals in their 4-0 triumph in the 1957 final victory over Ethiopia.
  • Egypt’s Hassan El-Shazly is the only player to have scored multiple hattricks at the Africa Cup of Nations, doing so in 1963 and 1970.
  • Egypt are the only team to have two players score a hattrick in the same game Hassan El-Shazly and Mohammed Morsi Hussein netted all their goals in a 6-3 win over Nigeria in a 1963 group stage encounter.
  • Egypt’s Ahmed Hassan and Cameroon’s Rigobert Song hold the record for the- most number of AFCON participations with each player having featured in 8 finals tournaments in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010. A record which could be tied by Ghana’s Andre Ayew at the next edition.
  • South Africa finished 1st(1996), 2nd (1998) and 3rd (2000) in the first three AFCON tournaments that they participated in.
  • Ghana’s Charles Gyamfi (1963–1965, 1982) and Egypt’s Hassan Shehata (Egypt 2006–2008-2010) are the only coaches to have won the title three times, Shehata is the only coach to have won the title in three successive tournaments.
  • Two persons Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary (1959 as player, 1998 as coach) and Stephen Keshi, of Nigeria (1994 as player, 2013 as coach) have won the AFCON as a player and coach.
  • French man Herve Renard is the only coach to have won the AFCON with two different countries Zambia in 2012 and Cote D’Ivoire in 2015.
  • Senegal coach Aliou Cisse holds the unwanted record of losing in the final as both a player (2002) and coach (2019). He also now has won the tournament as a coach lifting the title with Senegal at the 2021 edition.
  • France have had five different coaches win six AFCON tournament the most of any country.
  • In 2004 Frenchman Roger Lemmere became the first coach to win the AFCON and the UEFA European Championship when he lead Tunisia to the title, in 2000 he lead France to the European Championships.
  • 44 Different African Nations have participated at the AFCON Comoros and Gambia were debutants at the last edition in Cameroon, there are now new comers in the Cote d’ Ivoire.
  • Egypt (1957), Ghana (1963), and South Africa (1996) are the only teams to have won the tournament in their debut appearance.
  • Starting in 2008 Ghana have reached the AFCON Semi-finals in six of the last eight tournaments and have been beaten finalists twice in that time losing to Egypt in 2010 and Cote D’Ivoire in 2017.
  • Tunisia have qualified for their 16thsuccessive AFCON tournament a run started in 1994. No team has ever managed 16 successive qualifications.
  • Egypt have played more games at the AFCON than any other team (107), they have won more matches than any other team (60), Ghana have played 102 games and won 54. Cote d’ Ivoire and Nigeria will join the centenary club they have current played 99 and 97 games respectively at the finals.
  • Ndaye Mulamba scored 9 goals for DR Congo at the 1974 AFCON no player has managed more in a single tournament.
  • The AFCON trophy has changed three times in history the first trophy the Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem Trophy the next trophy was the African Unity trophy, a new trophy which was commissioned in 2001 after Cameroon won the previous trophy for a third time in 2000.
  • Twelve former African Champions will be making their way to Cote d’Ivoire for the 2023 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations.
  • The top 15 ranked African teams have all qualified for the 2023 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations.
  • Five Southern African teams have qualified for the 2023 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the most the COSAFA region has had at a single finals.
  • Each winner of the last 25 editions of the tournament from 1974 has qualified for the current edition of the finals, the last winner to miss out are the 1972 champions Congo.
  • Every finalists from the 1984 edition has reached the 2023 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the last team to reach the final who have not qualified are 1982 runners up Libya.



Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigeria’s AFCON 2025 fixtures almost in same pattern with World Cup qualifiers



Confederation of African Football (CAF)  has now released the full fixtures of the qualifying series for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations.

The fixtures for the Nigerian team is almost in the same pattern with that of the 2026 World Cup qualification which has seen the Super Eagles wobbling.

Like that of the World Cup, the Super Eagles will begin their quest for qualifcation for AFCON with a home game in Uyo as they will host Benin Republic.

As it was in the World Cup, they will then head to Rwanda. Last November, their second match was played in Rwanda which hosted Zimbabwe home match. This time the Super Eagles will be facing Rwanda, the same team they will meet when the World Cup qualification series resume in March next year.

On Match Day 3, the Super Eagles will host Libya and will have the reverse fixture immediately after that of Match Day 3.


Later they travel to Benin for Match Day 5 before hosting Rwanda on the last match day.

The Fixtures

  • September 2 – Nigeria vs Benin Republic; Libya vs Rwanda
  • September 6 – Rwanda vs Nigeria; Benin Republic vs Libya
  • October 11 – Nigeria vs Libya; Benin Republic vs Rwanda
  • October 16 – Libya vs Nigeria; Rwanda vs Benin Republic
  • November 11 – Benin Republic vs Nigeria; Rwanda vs Libya
  • November 15 – Nigeria vs Rwanda; Libya vs Benin Republic

The top two teams qualify for AFCON 2025

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Rohr roars warning to Benin; Nigeria, Rwanda will not be easy




Former Nigeria manager, Gernot Rohr now handling Benin Republic has warned The Cheetahs of Benin not to expect an easy match when the team meet Rwanda and Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later this month.

 Last month, he led his team to defeat both Rwanda and Nigeria in World Cup qualifying duels in Abidjan, where Benin Republic are compelled to play their home matches following inadequate facilities at home.

 Benin’s 1-0 defeat of Rwanda was Rohr’s first victory with the team. Days later, he followed up with a 2-1 defeat of Nigeria, the first Benin Republic victory in over 65 years.

 Those wins have put Benin in the frame of possible qualification for the World Cup. They are now to meet Nigeria and Rwanda again in World Cup qualifiers.


 It won’t be easy, remarked Rohr.  Hear the Franco-German as he spoke in French but translated into English for the Sports Village Square: “From September we will play against Nigeria before facing Libya and Rwanda.  

“These are three difficult opponents.  We had already played Rwanda and Nigeria but be careful, it’s not because we won Rwanda and Nigeria that it will be easy matches.

“ We know that it is possible to achieve good performances again.  We know that Nigeria with its great players will want to take revenge against us.

“ I think it will probably be an interesting match in Uyo before continuing against Libya.  I suppose in Abidjan because in September the Mathieu Kerekou friendship stadium  will not be ready.  

“Everything will be decided in three months in September, October and November.  It’s a difficult group but it’s playable.  


“You have to finish in the top two.  We had a team that is becoming solid, where the players are like brothers, accomplices.  I hope we will recover the players who were absent.  We are confident.”

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Coaches react after intriguing Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers Draw



The journey towards qualification to the  Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2025 shifted a gear higher on Thursday, after CAF officially conducted the draw of the qualifiers in Johannesburg South Africa.

A total of 48 nations will vie for the 24 places that will contests the 35th edition of Africa’s most prestigious competition.

This is what some of the coaches has to say in reaction to the draw outcomes.

Emerse Fae, Cote d’Ivoire coach

“I am satisfied because we are going to play against Zambia, a team that we know very well. In our last qualifying campaign, we lost against them. We know what mistakes to avoid.


“I am also satisfied because I did not want to have countries geographically far from Cote d’Ivoire which will lessen the travel load. That said, in Africa, there are no longer small teams. All the teams will want to challenge us because we are the reigning champions”

Leslie Notši

“The draw is very interesting because when you have the host in your group, it means they qualify automatically for the tournament, and you have to double your efforts to secure the remaining qualification spot which will be contested by the three other teams in the group.

“We will work very hard to see to it that we are competitive side and try as much as we can to get maximum points in matches against countries that are with us in our group. It will be very important to do well in our home games and I know all eyes will be on “Morocco as the hosts and a powerhouse in our group. We will draw inspiration from recent games where we played the likes of Nigeria as well as Cote d’voire and were able to frustrate them”

Amir Abdou, Mauritania Coach


“Quite a complicated draw. Egypt will be the big contender for qualification. They have a good track record that speaks volumes.

“Seven times African champions – that’s no small thing. We also have Cape Verde who eliminated us during the last AFCON.

“This team is made up of many quality players. We have Botswana, they are having a good qualifying campaign for the World Cup. We have a pretty strong group. It’s up to us to believe in ourselves. We will do everything we can to achieve our fourth participation in the AFCON”.

Kévin Nicaise, Chad coach

 “We are already having the reigning African champions facing the last qualified team in the FIFA rankings. These will definitely be very difficult matches played at high intensity. We will fight to defend our nation’s pride. The group remains relatively open, and we will approach these qualifications with humility and ambition”.


 Badou Zaki, Niger coach

“We have every chance of qualifying. For me, Ghana is a football country with a team that is blessed with great professionals. But this is not the team of 5 or 6 years ago. Even at home, they can lose.

“Angola had a good showing at the last AFCON with their beautiful, modern and fast football. It’s a team that shook up the big teams in Cote d’Ivoire.

“I know Sudan very well. They are first in their World Cup qualifying group. They are going to be dangerous, but we know our strengths and we know we can go far”


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