Africa’s greatest and greatest groups go head-to-head each different 12 months for the final word prize.
The Africa Cup of Nations attracts tens of millions and tens of millions of eyes each time and there’s a lot at stake. Ivory Coast not too long ago hosted the most recent version of the event, which was held again to keep away from the nation’s wet season throughout the summer season months.
As ever, it was a event to recollect, and Soccer FanCast has delved into the historical past books to take a look at the earlier AFCON winners and their paths to continental glory.
The hosts definitely did not disappoint on residence soil, however additionally they did not half put their supporters by it throughout their journey to the highest.
It was all going so swimmingly with a 2-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau on opening evening, however two successive defeats in opposition to Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea – the latter a record-breaking 4-0 reverse – threatened to finish the Elephants’ event there after which.
Slipping by as probably the greatest third-placed groups, they then took the unprecedented step of parting methods with supervisor Jean-Louis Gasset, leaving assistant Emerse Fae in cost.
What occurred subsequent was outstanding. A late Franck Kessie penalty helped them squeeze previous reigning champions Senegal on spot-kicks, earlier than an extra-time victory in opposition to Mali noticed them as soon as once more snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Their semi-final success over DR Congo was comparatively calm, with Sebastien Haller the hero to take them to a ultimate in entrance of their very own followers. The ultimate noticed Haller play the starring function as soon as extra, together with his very good volley finishing a comeback in opposition to Nigeria as they avenged their group-stage defeat and capped one of many best worldwide event tales. This one will certainly reside lengthy within the reminiscence.
The delayed 2021 AFCON noticed two Liverpool stars take centre stage in Cameroon.
Sadio Mane’s Senegal took on Mohamed Salah’s Egypt within the ultimate at Olembe Stadium within the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé.
It was 0-0 after 120 minutes after which Mane, now of Bayern Munich, spearheaded his staff to success, putting the profitable penalty past the reaches of Egyptian goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal. The shot-stopper was named Man of the Match within the ultimate, but it surely was all in useless.
This was Senegal’s first-ever AFCON victory they usually additionally scooped up a few particular person awards, with Mane being named Participant of the Event and former Chelsea man Edouard Mendy profitable the Finest Goalkeeper award.
Hosts Cameroon got here third after dropping to Egypt within the semi-finals, whereas their striker Vincent Aboubakar gained the Golden Boot with eight targets.
2021 winners Senegal got here up simply quick of their pursuit of a first-ever AFCON victory two years prior when the competitors passed off in Egypt.
Al Sadd’s Baghdad Bounedjah scored the one objective of the ultimate for Algeria in Cairo, with this being the north African nation’s second success on this event.
Forward of Bounedjah’s two within the scoring charts have been his fellow countrymen Riyad Mahrez and Adam Ounas on three (amongst others), while former Manchester United and Watford striker Odion Ighalo led the way in which with 5.
Midfielder Ismael Bennacer of Algeria was given the Participant of the Event award, and after returning to Italian aspect Empoli, secured a significant transfer to a different Serie A staff within the type of Milan.
Cameroon got here out on prime in 2017, although in contrast to the likes of Algeria and Senegal, Cameroon are not any strangers to AFCON glory, having gained it 4 occasions previous to this triumph.
The event was initially purported to be hosted by Libya, however because of the civil struggle unfolding there, it was then handed over to Gabon.
The aforementioned Aboubakar scored the winner within the ultimate in opposition to Egypt, with Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny having given the runners-up the lead earlier than centre-back Nicolas Nkoulou levelled issues up.
DR Congo’s Junior Kabananga gained the Golden Boot with three targets, ending one forward of a giant group that continued names reminiscent of Salah, Mane, Mahrez, Andre Ayew and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Three-time Ivory Coast participant of the 12 months, Didier Drogba, retired from worldwide soccer in 2014, so his nation have been trying to triumph in Equatorial Guinea in his absence.
The host nation encountered some points all through the event, together with accusations of fraudulent refereeing and crowd hassle, however their achievement of attending to the semi-finals was fairly one thing.
On the final-four stage, they have been defeated by Ghana, who then went on to lose to Ivory Coast in a dramatic penalty shootout.
When Wilfried Bony and Junior Tallo missed the primary two spot-kicks, their followers would have been fearing the worst. Nonetheless, they managed to battle their manner again into it, and after Ivorian goalkeeper Boubacar Barry transformed, Ghanaian shot-stopper Brimah Razak was unable to match his reverse quantity.
Bony, Gervinho and Max Gradel all led the profitable staff’s scoring charts with two apiece.
The pattern of a special staff reigning victorious each time round isn’t altering simply but, as a Nigerian aspect spearheaded by Emmanuel Emenike and Ahmed Musa went all the way in which in 2013.
Some huge names featured within the Group of the Event for Nigeria, together with Victor Moses, John Obi Mikel and goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
Burkina Faso have been the opponents within the ultimate in Johannesburg, South Africa, and as soon as once more, it was very tight. There was not less than a objective to report this time round – the scorer being Sunday Mba, who performed plenty of soccer in his residence nation earlier than frequenting Scotland (with Rangers), France and Turkey.
Zambia’s 2012 win is probably one of the historic in AFCON historical past, with the backdrop being dominated by political turmoil.
Nations reminiscent of Libya and Tunisia certified despite their points again residence amid the Arab Spring, while Egypt – additionally a rustic coping with political chaos – have been unable to e book a spot in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
This was the final AFCON to happen in a 12 months bearing a good quantity (in identify, not less than) in order to keep away from the clashes that preceded it with the World Cup.
Zambia gained their first-ever title in 2012 and it was very a lot in opposition to the percentages. Ivory Coast have been the staff who they overcame within the ultimate due to yet one more penalty shootout, and it was made all of the extra fascinating by the truth that the eventual runners-up didn’t concede a objective all event.
After seven straight, profitable penalties from the likes of Drogba, Sol Bamba and Cheick Tiote, ex-Arsenal duo Kolo Toure and Gervinho missed, handing Zambia their history-making second.
The person accountable for the Zambian aspect was Herve Renard, who exceeded expectations with Morocco and Saudi Arabia extra not too long ago too. He’s presently on the helm of the French ladies’s nationwide staff, who he led to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2023.
Egypt have been fairly dominant in 2010, and this was mirrored by the winners of the massive particular person awards.
Gedo was the highest scorer with 5, Ahmed Hassan was named because the Participant of the Event, and Essam El Hadary obtained his fingers on the Finest Goalkeeper award.
Hassan Shehata’s aspect conceded simply two targets all through the event, with one coming in opposition to Nigeria within the group stage after which the opposite of their 3-1 quarter-final victory over Cameroon.
For context, the Egyptians themselves scored 15 targets throughout the six video games, averaging 2.5 per recreation. They have been the undoubted kings of Africa.
Egypt managed to return out on prime in back-to-back AFCON tournaments with their 2008 victory, marking simply the fourth time within the competitors’s historical past a nation has efficiently defended their crown.
Samuel Eto’o could have gained the Golden Boot this time round however El-Hadary had the final chortle as he was named Goalkeeper of the Event, saved a clear sheet within the ultimate and earned one other winners’ medal. That being mentioned, the legendary Eto’o did rating twice within the group levels as his aspect misplaced 4-2 to the Pharaohs.
Mohamed Aboutrika, a person thought-about by many to be the best participant within the historical past of his nation, struck residence the one objective of the ultimate within the 76th minute.
Egypt’s first of three consecutive AFCON triumphs got here in 2006.
The truth is, just one different nation had ever retained the trophy, and that was Cameroon, who after beating Nigeria on penalties within the ultimate in 2000, inflicted the identical destiny upon Senegal two years later.
Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o gained the Golden Boot, while one other Egyptian legend within the type of Ahmed Hassan was named because the Participant of the Event.
One other penalty shootout was on the playing cards within the ultimate right here, and Ivory Coast had the extra family names of their arsenal. Drogba, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue have been amongst these to strive their luck from 12 yards out, with the Chelsea legend being the one to fail.
Egypt, in the meantime, transformed 4 of their 5 spot-kicks, with Aboutrika sweeping residence the decisive one, setting off a historic run which will by no means be matched.