AFCON 2021
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AFCON 2021: History, Fixtures, Groups and Kick-Off Time for The 2022 Tournament


AFCON 2021 is here. The craze and the screams in the stadium for football are live. Fans all across Africa are having the moment of their life as they engross in their favourite sports and are getting a chance to view their favourite players live. Their love for football is alive once again, with the top teams of Africa are once again fighting to become the champions of Africa.

New websites like ‘Africa is a Country’ is all set to cover the tournament more intensively this time, and they have created a brand new page Football is the country to shed light on every single moment of the game.

Most teams have replenished their energies given the opportunity given by the ongoing pandemic. This year’s African Cup on Nations is all set to provide the fans with one of the best sports entertainment ones can find in international football.

To begin with, we will first look into a very brief and selective history of the tournament along with one of the finest moments of history vis-à-vis the African Cup of Nations.

Brief History of AFCON – and Its Historic Significance

The history of the African Cup of Nations or AFCON dated to June 1956, when the third FIFA congress in Lisbon proposed the creation of the confederation of African Football. Immediately after this announcement, the first Cup of Nations was held in Khartoum, Sudan. This watershed event made football the favourite sport of millions of people in the outskirts of this African region. It brought to the limelight the love for this sport in the hearts of indigenous Africans.

Sudan, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Egypt became the first counties to set up the Cup of Nations. Later on, the discriminatory and apartheid policies of South Africa led to its disqualification.

In the beginning, only two matches were played. The first is between Egypt and Sudan, while the second is between Ethiopia and South Africa. Ethiopia entered the finals without playing any game due to South Africa’s qualification. The first-ever final of AFCON has been arranged between Egypt and Ethiopia.

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In a groundbreaking event, Egypt won the first-ever AFCON and made history. As the years when by, the teams grew in number, and by 1961, the number of teams participating in the African Cup of Nations grew to nine.

The AFCON 2021 will commence from January 9, with the final taking place on February 6. This delay in AFCON is a direct result of the rapid spread of the Corona Virus Pandemic, which disturbed the whole world and caused millions of lives.

After a long wait, the 2021 AFCON will finally set Cameroon after a year of delay. In this tournament, over 24 teams are slugging in to earn one of the biggest prizes on their continent.

Political History of the African Cup of Nations

The first tournament held in 1957 was established during the decolonisation period and represented the ideals of unity and cooperation. In the first decade, AFCON aspired to a pan-African vision. The historian Peter Alegi termed the first tournament a Vehicle for political ideology.

The new opportunities created by AFCON were embraced and accepted by most newly formed countries. One example where the ideals of unity and acceptance were tested was during the apartheid in South Africa. When South Africa chose to select only white players for its team, the CAF planned it from AFCON, and the team couldn’t play any of the matches until 1994.

This decision profoundly represents the ideal of CAF – and the fight for the rights of black Africans. Moreover, the newly created countries came together to advance what was seen as a moral cause. It has been seen over the years that CAF has turned out to be non-political and neutral sports, fighting for the rights and freedom of black Africans.

Along with the political contributions of AFCON, the tournament is also carrying out important social work; the President of AFCON Yidnekatchew Tessema, in his speech during 1974, said that “football is carrying out an important social function in helping the continent bridge differences”.

Moreover, the autonomy of the organisation has also been maintained. Until 2019, AFCON has resisted European influence and turned out to be an exclusive African event. In addition to this, AFCON has been held between January and February when weather conditions are most suitable. The timings do not coincide with the time frame set by European Football sessions.

In short, the AFCON holds significance in giving voice to the political history of the African region.

Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on AFCON

The Confederation of African Football officially postponed the African Cup of Nations 2021 due to the widespread Corona Virus pandemic in the African region. The whole tournament was delayed for a year, but sportsman spirit couldn’t stop it from happening this year.

Despite the threats of the upcoming Omicron variant, African football chief Patrice Motsepe said that the African Cup of Nations would go as planned despite the threat posed by the new virus.

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Although in an environment of enormous challenges due to the surge of Covid-19, the CAF has given the green light to AFCON. This decision has been applauded by millions of fans of AFCON who have long waited for this pandemic to end and enjoy sports at its best.

But the dangers and safety precautions have been kept in mind while arranging the tournament for 2022. With travel restrictions, players might be forced into a mandatory quarantine period. Moreover, they will also be asked to display vaccination cards and avoid unnecessary gatherings.

Moreover, the CAF has limited the stadium capacities due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Stadiums will have their ability capped at 80% for the host matches while 60% for the rest.

Recently, the Cup of nations has also been moved forward after coronavirus cases were reported in the camp of Egypt. The Pharaohs have won the tournament seven times, and their departure has also affected the viewership of this tournament.

Although the countries appear to be prepared, the ongoing pandemic is severely posing a threat now as the Omicron variant is spreading at an alarming rate.

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Nicknames of AFCON Teams

A surprising fact about African national teams is: They take pride in being addressed by their nicknames. Therefore, commentators and sports pundits address them by their nicknames.

Let us dive into the countries participating in the African Cup of Nations along with their nicknames.

1. Burkina Faso – The Stallions

They get their nickname from their national symbol. The White Stallion is the national symbol of Burkina Faso.

2. Cameroon – Indomitable Lions

The lion is the national animal of Cameroon. For this reason, this team got its nickname, the Indomitable Lions.

3. Ethiopia – Walias

Wallis Ibex is predominant in the vicinities of Ethiopia. That is how Ethiopia got its nickname Walias.

4. Cape Verde – Blue Sharks

Cape Verde is associated with water. Moreover, the blue is their national jersey. Therefore, they have been nicknamed Blue Sharks.

5. Malawi – The Flames

They get their nickname from their National flag, which has flames of the rising sun.

6. Guinea – Syli National

The word Syli National means ‘National elephant’. Guinea is home to their national elephant. That is how the team got its nickname.

7. Senegal – Teranga Lions

Terenga means welcome or generosity. For having characteristics of generosity, Senegal got its nickname.

8. Comoros – The Coelacanths

Coelacanths are the name of fish. The Island got its name from it.

9. Zimbabwe – The Warriors

They got their nickname from the indigenous Zulu Warrior in Zimbabwe.

10. Gabon – The Panthers

The country’s national animal is the Black Panther, and that is how they got their nickname.

11. Morocco – Atlas Lion

The animal barbary Lion is predominantly found in the North African Country of Morocco. This is how the country got its nickname.

12. Ghana – Black Stars

Black Star has a history of being regarded as the national symbol of West Africa.

13. Egypt – The Pharaohs

The Pharoah and Great Egyptian Pyramids have now completely associated with Egypt and its culture. This is how this team got its name.

14. Nigeria – The Super Eagles

Nigeria got its nickname from the country’s official football crest. Moreover, the eagle in the name represents strength.

15. Guinea-Bissau – The African Wild Dogs

The African wild dog is a species of wild canine found predominantly in the sub-Saharan African region. For being in the Sub-Saharan region, Guinea-Bissau got its nickname this way.

16. Sudan – Nile Crocodiles

The Nile Crocodiles are predominantly present in the many regions of Sudan.

17. Sierra Leone – The Leones Stars

The Leones Stars is a short form of the country, Sierra Leone.

18. Algeria – Desert Foxes or The Fennecs

The Fennec Fox is the national animal of the country. Moreover, it is a desert country. This is how it got its nickname.

19. Ivory Coast – The Elephants

They got their name from the African forest Elephants predominantly found in the region.

20. The Gambia – Scorpions

They are nicknamed Scorpians due to the abundance of emperor Scorpions in West Africa.

21. Equatorial Guinea – The National Thunder

This country got its name from the thunderstorm in the equatorial climate.

22. Mali – The Eagles

Their nickname is from the traditional hunting eagles of the Tuareg tribe of Mali.

23. Tunisia – Carthage Eagles

They got their name from the Carthaginian empire of Northwest Africa.

24. Mauritania – The Almoravids

They have got their nickname from the ancient Almoravids dynasty in  Morocco during the 11th century.

Groups of AFCON 2021

Groups Countries
Group A Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde
Group B Senegal, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Malawi
Group C Morocco, Ghana, Comoros, Gabon
Group D Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau
Group E Algeria, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Cote D’Ivoire
Group F Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia

Previous Winners of African Cup of Nations

Year Winner 🏆 Runner-up 🥈
1957 Egypt Ethiopia
1959 Egypt Sudan
1962 Ethiopia Egypt
1963 Ghana Sudan
1965 Ghana Tunisia
1968 Congo (Kinshasa) Ghana
1970 Sudan Ghana
1972 Congo (Brazzaville) Mali
1974 Zaire Zambia
1976 Morocco Guinea
1978 Ghana Uganda
1980 Nigeria Algeria
1982 Ghana Libya
1984 Cameroon Nigeria
1986 Egypt Cameroon
1988 Cameroon Nigeria
1990 Algeria Nigeria
1992 Côte d’Ivoire Ghana
1994 Nigeria Zambia
1996 South Africa Tunisia
1998 Egypt South Africa
2000 Cameroon Nigeria
2002 Cameroon Senegal
2004 Tunisia Morocco
2006 Egypt Côte d’Ivoire
2008 Egypt Cameroon
2010 Egypt Ghana
2012 Zambia Côte d’Ivoire
2013* Nigeria Burkina Faso
2015 Côte d’Ivoire Ghana
2017 Cameroon Egypt
2019 Algeria Senegal

Total Number of African Cup of Nations (AFCON) Won By a Country

🌎 Country 🏆 Times Won
Egypt 7 times
Cameroon 5 times
Ghana  4 times
Nigeria 3 times
Ivory 2 times
Algeria 2 times
Tunisia 1 time
Sudan 1 time
Morocco 1 time
Ethiopia 1 time
South 1 time
Congo 1 time
Zambia 1 time

Top Three Countries Winning the Most AFCON Titles

The country winning the most titles of the AFCON cup in history is Egypt. Egypt has won the AFCON title seven times. Following the number of victories by Egypt, Cameron won the Africa Cup of Nation 5 times. Lastly, Ghana braced the third position by winning the title three times.


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🤔 Who Is Hosting AFCON 2021?

The 2021 African Cup of Nations is also known as the TotalEnergies African Cup. This will be the 33rd edition of the African Cup of Nations. The Confederation of African Football organises this championship. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 cup was postponed to 2022.

In the year 2022, Cameroon’s tournament is scheduled to be hosted and will commence from 9 January and end on 6 February. Although the ongoing pandemic might cause delays in the finals, the dates for the tournament haven’t changed.

The long-awaited 2021 African cup has kicked off already. Send top-ups to your loved ones in Africa and never miss a moment of this event.

🤔 When Is The Next AFCON?

According to the CAF President Ahmed Ahmed, the next AFCON is held in Ivory Coast. For the preceding two years, the tournament was scheduled during January, but the exact dates of the game are yet to be disclosed by the authorities.

For 2023, the Ivory Coast has been selected as a suitable place for the tournament, while for the year 2025, Guinea has been chosen as a designated venue for the game.

The AFCON 2021 tournament was initially scheduled to be played in June and July 2021. Still, the CAF Authorities said it would be MOVED to the year 2022 due to the unfavourable effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

🤔 When Does AFCON Start?

For the year 2022, the AFCON will start on January 9 and end on 6 February. In the 2021 African Cup of Nations, some of the world’s best players have prepared to face off in Cameron. The defending champions – Algeria is all set to face the rest of the African nations. Fans are looking forward to getting an amazing experience this time.

🤔 What TV Channel Is The African Cup of Nations On?

The current rights to broadcast the African Cup of Nations on TV in the UK have been given to Sky Sports and BBC. Sky Sports will show all the 52 matches live. BBC will only show selective games, including the AFCON final. Along with this, ITV4 will show highlights of the group stages and selected live matches of the knockout stage.

🤔 Which Country Won The AFCON 2019?

The final match of the 32nd edition of the African Cup of Nations was played between Senegal and Algeria in 2019. Algeria defeated Senegal with 1-0 in the final and won their second title since 1990.

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