AFCON 2023: What you should know

Edwin  - CEO January 11, 2024
Updated 2024/01/11 at 8:51 AM
11 Min Read
Stephen Keshi is one of two individuals that have won the championship both as a player and coach
Stephen Keshi is one of two individuals that have won the championship both as a player and coach

TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations informative facts


Countdown to AFCON 2023 presented by Ed Emeanua


Just hours before the battle lines are officially drawn in the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023, looks at some exciting records and statistics of the tournament.


  • 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  • South Africa was also invited to the first Africa Cup of Nations tournament in 1957, but their invitation was later withdrawn as a result of the country’s apartheid laws.


  • Egypt defeated host Sudan in the first game played at the AFCON, winning 2-1 on 10 January 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 host Sudan in 1957.


  • Egypt defeated Ethiopia 4-0 in the final to win the first AFCON Tournament 1957.


  • Egypt won the first two AFCON Tournaments in 1957 and 1959 while 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 join the hosts again: Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, and Nigeria. Missing out are Malawi and Togo.


  • Egypt has won the most AFCON Titles (seven), followed by Cameroon (five), Ghana (four), Nigeria (three) and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Ivory Coast (two each).


  • Egypt and Ghana have reached 9 AFCON Finals, while Egypt has won seven, Ghana has four wins, and Cameroon has played in seven finals, winning five.


  • Cote d’Ivoire appeared in four AFCON Finals in 1992, 2006, 2012, and 2015 and, in 480 minutes of play in the 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 and 2012, with all four games ending 0-0.


  • Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o is the 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, did the opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations end 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 they 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 34th edition of the tournament since its founding in 1957.


  • The AFCON has been expanded from a 16-tournament 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 has had five players scoring six AFCON hat-tricks. 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 in 1963 and 1970.


  • Egypt is the only team with two players scoring a hat trick 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 AFCON participations, with each player featured in 8 finals tournaments in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010. A record which Ghana’s Andre Ayew could tie 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.


  • 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 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 has now won the tournament as a coach, lifting the title with Senegal at the 2021 edition.


  • France has had five different coaches win six AFCON tournaments, 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 reached the AFCON Semi-finals in six of the last eight tournaments and was beaten finalists twice in that time, losing to Egypt in 2010 and Cote d’Ivoire in 2017.


  • Tunisia qualified for their 16th successive AFCON tournament, which started in 1994. No team has ever managed 16 successive qualifications.


  • Egypt has played more games at the AFCON than any other team (107), they have won more matches than any other team (60), Ghana has played 102 games and won 54. Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria will join the centenary club. They have currently played 99 and 97 games, respectively, at the finals.


  • Ndiaye 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 was the Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem Trophy. The next trophy was the African Unity trophy, a new one commissioned in 2001 after Cameroon won the previous trophy for a third time in 2000.


  • Twelve former African Champions will attend 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.


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