As African countries across Africa are all set for the continent’s biggest tournament, here are five things to know about the competition. This includes information about some of the teams, AFCON’s history and more, so let’s dive in.
1) This is the first time The Gambia will participate in an AFCON tournament
The Gambia will Mali, Tunisia and Mauritania after the AfCON draws—were officially held on the 17th of August. Assan Ceesay scored the Team’s historic goal.
2) In 1954, at the FIFA congress held in Berne, Switzerland, Africa was recognized as a Confederation through votes. The recognition gave the continent the right to appoint its first representative to the FIFA Executive Committee, and the member was Abdel Aziz Abdallah Salem of Egypt.
3) The biennial African Cup of Nations tournament has been played since 1957. In February 1957, beneath the heat of the Nubian Desert in Sudan, not many will predicate it to become Africa’s biggest soccer tournament.
4) The first tournament consisted of only three teams—Egypt, host Sudan and Ethiopia. Initially, South Africa was part of the teams to play but failed to approve a multi-racial team.
5) After the tournament’s expansion in subsequent years, the tournament became the platform to see the crème de crème in African football.
Papa Camara, Petit Sory and Cherif Souleymane were headlines in the Guinean side while the Algerian Lalmas, Ghanaian dribbling wizard Osei Kofi or Ethiopian captain Italo Vassalo – they were among a host of legends making waves in the tournament.
6) In 2013, the tournament format was switched to being held in odd-numbered years to not clash with the FIFA world cup.
Previous tournament winners include Ghana, Cameron, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Algeria, with Egypt on top of the winners’ list( 7 times AFCON champions).