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Out of the 24 teams in the tournament, there are a small handful of sides who we think have a genuine chance of lifting the trophy. Let’s take a look at those in a bit more detail:
Egypt: No country has won AFCON as many times as Egypt’s seven triumphs, and there’s also the small matter of the Pharaohs boasting arguably the world’s best player in the form of Mo Salah.
The 29-year-old is in scintillating form for his club side Liverpool, and if he can carry his scoring streak onto the international stage, then there’s no denying that they can go all the way.
Senegal: It will come as a surprise to many that, despite producing a wealth of talent since the turn of the 21st century, the Senegalese are still yet to win their first African Cup of Nations title.
But the losing 2019 finalists still have plenty to offer, with Napoli centre back Kalidou Koulibaly providing defensive support for a forward line featuring the likes of Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and the talented yet inconsistent Keita Balde.
Nigeria: The three-times champions always have a competitive side when AFCON comes around and we’re expecting them to be at the sharp end of things once again in Cameroon.
This could be a tournament too soon for a side that is packed with mostly young, promising players, but there are still enough matchwinners in the squad to make them a solid proposition if you’re having a bet on the overall winner.
Algeria: The 2019 winners only conceded twice on their way to clinching their second African Cup of Nations title – and their first since beating Nigeria in the 1990 final that they hosted.
This time around, the Fennec Foxes have a blend of high-profile, experienced players alongside a clutch of youngsters with less than ten caps. Do they have enough mettle to defend their title?
Ivory Coast: It’s incredible to think that, despite the plethora of talent at this country’s disposal over the last 10-15 years, the Ivory Coast were only able to win the African Cup of Nations once, back in 2015.
But with a string of familiar faces to fans of the Premier League and other major European divisions, they’re still fancied to make a significant dent on the tournament.
There is plenty out there if you’re considering either a top scorer bet, or a dabble on the player of the tournament. We could’ve spent all day running through the potential stars of AFCON, but seeing as our editor limited us to ten candidates, let’s take a look at our hitlist:
Mo Salah – There really is no better place to start than the Liverpool forward, who at the peak of his powers this season has been scoring at BETTER than a goal a game for the Reds, including a hat-trick at Old Trafford against Manchester United, as well as some vital goals in the Champions League.
The 29-year-old appears to be at the absolute peak of his powers at the moment but will come into this year’s AFCON with a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders to deliver for a nation that has now gone more than a decade since their last continental victory.
Sadio Mane – It’s fair to say that the Liverpool frontline will be somewhat depleted at the turn of the year, with Salah and his colleague Sadio Mane both away.
The former Southampton forward has had some great years at Anfield but is certainly playing second fiddle to Salah these days. That said, he’s by far and away the chief goal threat for Senegal and will also take on a large proportion of the creative load thanks to his side’s lack of prowess in midfield.
But if Mane can hit the kind of form we know he’s capable of, his side could quite easily go all the way.
Vincent Aboubakar – We haven’t really touched on hosts Cameroon as a potential winner of AFCON, despite tournament hosts having a rich history of success at past African Cup of Nations tournaments.
But the 29-year-old has an excellent goalscoring record in a club career that has included goal-laden spells at Porto, as well as Turkish giants Besiktas.
And with Cameroon having a somewhat modest group draw for the tournament, we think Aboubakar could be the value pick for top goalscorer if he gets off to a rapid start.
Thomas Partey – He’s certainly not going to be winning the top goalscorer prize, but Partey is almost certain to play a big role for Ghana this time around.
The former Atletico Madrid midfielder has had a difficult time of it since he made the move to Arsenal just over a year ago – thanks largely to injuries – but the midfielder has an excellent scoring record at international level and is an underrated proposition when it comes to creativity.
We’re not expecting Ghana to make a great deal of noise at AFCON 2021, but if they do, Partey will be at the heart of it.
Pierre-Emerick Aubamyang – Gabon are unlikely to make it out of this year’s group stage, but we couldn’t run through some of the A-Listers and not mention Arsenal hitman Aubameyang.
Just 15 goals last season is a poor return for a forward of his standards, but the 32-year-old has returned to form this time around and is starting to look like his old self again.
If he can nick a goal or two early on then an unlikely escape from the groups is on for Gabon, and from there, anything can happen.
Victor Osimhen – There were a queue of big European clubs keeping tabs on Osimhen after a brilliant debut season at Lille saw him hit 18 goals in 38 Ligue 1 matches.
Napoli were the lucky side to win the Nigerian’s signature, and after a quiet ten-goal season for the Serie A side, the 22-year-old is in searing form in front of goal this time around and gives the Super Eagles a genuine threat in the striking department.
Riyad Mahrez – The silky, tricky Man City winger is amongst some of the most exciting forward players in European club football and will play an integral role in the defence of Algeria’s title.
Mahrez may be approaching the wrong side of 30 but he’s showing no signs of decline yet, and thanks to club manager Pep Guardiola’s tendency to tinker a lot with matchday squads, the Algeria captain should come into the tournament in a fresh physical condition.
Wilfried Zaha – Despite dazzling English Premier League fans with his direct, flamboyant style, Zaha was never able to earn a competitive senior England cap, with both of his two appearances for the Three Lions coming in friendlies.
But England’s loss is certainly Ivory Coast’s gain, and the Crystal Palace man will be dipping into his box of tricks as he looks to inspire his side to a first AFCON title in six years.
Sebastien Haller – It’s been quite the turnaround for Haller, who was never really accepted by West Ham fans in the two years he spent at the club following a big money move from Eintracht Frankfurt.
But the forward is revitalised at Dutch side Ajax, and his form in the Eredivisie saw him earn a route into international football with the Ivory Coast, for whom he scored the winner on debut against Madagascar to help his side qualify for the African Cup of Nations 2021.
If the production line is on song, Haller could score a bucketload.
Youssef En-Nesyri – The 24-year-old has slowly been building himself a healthy reputation in La Liga, culminating in a quite brilliant 2020/21 season that saw him notch up 24 goals in all competitions for Sevilla.
And he could find himself lining up alongside Seville teammate Munir El Haddadi if Morocco are looking for a more proactive shape. Either way, En-Nesyri is likely to be the leading man and is flying under the radar as one of the chief candidates to lead the top goalscorer charts.
Let’s have a look at the history of the African Cup of Nations to see if there are any potential clues about the destination of this year’s trophy.
In this section, we will detail the year of the tournament (with the hosts in brackets), along with the scoreline of the final and its competitors.
1957 (Sudan) – Sudan 1-2 Egypt
1959 (Egypt) – Egypt 4-0 Ethiopia
1962 (Ethiopia) – Ethiopia 4-2 Egypt
1963 (Ghana) – Ghana 3-0 Sudan
1965 (Tunisia) – Ghana 3-2 Tunisia
1968 (Ethiopia) – DR Congo 1-0 Ghana
1970 (Sudan) – Sudan 1-0 Ghana
1972 (Cameroon) – Congo 3-2 Mali
1974 (Egypt) – Zaire 2-0 Zambia
1976 (Ethiopia) – Morocco won the final group
1978 (Ghana) – Ghana 2-0 Uganda
1980 (Nigeria) – Nigeria 3-0 Algeria
1982 (Libya) – Ghana 1-1 Libya (Ghana won on penalties)
1984 (Ivory Coast) - Cameroon 3-1 Nigeria
1986 (Egypt) – Egypt 0-0 Cameroon (Egypt won on penalties)
1988 (Morocco) – Cameroon 1-0 Nigeria
1990 (Algeria) – Algeria 1-0 Nigeria
1992 (Senegal) – Ivory Coast 0-0 Ghana (Ivory Coast won on penalties)
1994 (Tunisia) – Nigeria 2-1 Zambia
1996 (South Africa) – South Africa 2-0 Tunisia
1998 (Burkina Faso) – Egypt 2-0 South Africa
2000 (Ghana & Nigeria) – Nigeria 2-2 Cameroon (Cameroon won on penalties)
2002 (Mali) – Senegal 0-0 Cameroon (Cameroon won on penalties)
2004 (Tunisia) – Tunisia 2-1 Morocco
2006 (Egypt) – Egypt 0-0 Ivory Coast (Egypt won on penalties)
2008 (Ghana) – Egypt 1-0 Cameroon
2010 (Angola) – Egypt 1-0 Ghana
2012 (Gabon & Equatorial Guinea) – Zambia 0-0 Ivory Coast (Zambia won on penalties)
2013 (South Africa) – Nigeria 1-0 Burkina Faso
2015 (Equatorial Guinea) – Ivory Coast 0-0 Ghana (Ivory Coast won on penalties)
2017 (Gabon) – Cameroon 2-1 Egypt
2019 (Egypt) – Algeria 1-0 Senegal
It’s a long old road when it comes to qualifying for the African Cup of Nations, especially in the 2021 edition when qualifiers were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before the main qualification phase began, eight teams took part in a preliminary round to determine who would join the other 44 nations in the AFCON qualification groups. The eight teams – and their ties – are below, with the winner denoted in bold.
Liberia v Chad South Sudan v Seychelles Mauritius v Sao Tome and Principe Djibouti v Gambia
These four teams all made it to the final group stage, with 48 teams being divided up into 12 groups of four. The top two from each group each clinched a place at the African Cup of Nations 2021.
Below are each of the groups, and in bold, the top two teams in those groups:
- Burkina Faso
- South Sudan
- South Africa
- Sao Tome and Principe
- DR Congo
- Central African Republic
- Cape Verde
- Equatorial Guinea
- Ivory Coast
- Sierra Leone
These groups were completed between November of 2019 and June of 2021. The pandemic meant there was a 12-month delay to the completion of the qualifiers, with a year-long gap between the opening round of qualifiers and the second round.
The completion of the qualification stage left us with 24 teams who will go into six groups of four.
From these six groups, the two top teams in each group will automatically qualify for the last-16 stage. In addition, there is an opportunity for sides who finish third in their group to still make it through to the next round. The four-best third-placed sides from each of the six groups will also qualify for the knockout stages.
Cameroon – The hosts of the African Cup of Nations have a funny old knack of doing very well in the tournament itself, and five-time champions Cameroon have a terrific pedigree on the continent.
But despite that, we don’t think Cameroon have quite what it takes to go all the way this year. Perhaps the most high-profile plyer in the squad is Bayern Munich forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, and with the veteran very much playing a bit-part role for the German giants, it’s fair to say that Cameroon are short when it comes to star quality.
But they have been handed a bit of an easy ride in the group stages. Major tournaments are all about gathering momentum at the right time and if the Indomitable Lions can click into gear with a couple of wins in Group A, they could be a dangerous prospect to face in the AFCON knockout rounds.
Burkina Faso – If you dig deep into the archives, you’d probably be forgiven for thinking that Burkina Faso aren’t offering much in the way of success at the African Cup of Nations down the years.
But in the past decade the Stallions have been punching well above their weight. In 2013 they made it all the way to the final, only to be beaten by Nigeria in Johannesburg. And only a penalty shootout defeat to Mo Salah’s Egypt denied them a place in the 2017 finale.
We fancy them to make it past the group stages and they have at least a couple of promising young players to keep an eye out for. Central defender Edmond Tapsoba is earning rave reviews over in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen, while Lassina Traore has started life well at Shakhtar Donetsk after the striker made a summer switch from Ajax.
Ethiopia – The Ethiopians are probably counting their blessings in the run-up to the tournament after they appeared to throw qualification away in the final game as they lost 3-1 to qualifying group winners Ivory Coast.
But a 0-0 draw for Madagascar against continent minnows Niger meant Ethiopia sneaked through by the skin of their teeth, although we aren’t expecting as much good fortune when the tournament really gets going.
There isn’t much at all to speak of when it comes to Ethiopians plying their trade in Europe. In fact, all of their squad currently play in their domestic league. Shimelis Bekele is their most-capped player of all time with 66 appearances and is their creative outlet, while forward Getaneh Kebede has an excellent scoring record at international level with 31 goals in just 58 appearances.
But anything other than an early exit will be a big surprise.
Cape Verde – The Blue Sharks are certainly no strangers to hosts Cameroon, having faced them twice in qualification for the African Cup of Nations 2021.
Cape Verde got themselves a valuable point away in Yaounde before a 3-1 victory at home put them on course for qualification. A 1-0 win over Mozambique in their final outing sealed their place in the tournament.
There is a heavy Portuguese influence in the squad, along with a sprinkling of players from some of Europe’s minor leagues. That said, they are capable of springing upsets, and despite only playing in two AFCON tournaments in their history, they have a rather peculiar record of having never lost a group stage match at the tournament.
And with Group A not being the most daunting, we think they have a good chance of extending that streak.
Senegal – One of the tournament favourites, Senegal breezed through their qualification group, dropping only four points and conceding just two goals in their six games.
And the Lions of Teranga have one of the most feared squads at AFCON. Sadio Mane is the obvious showpiece up front, but Ismaela Sarr is a real tricky customer on his day for Premier League side Watford, while Idrissa Gueye (Paris St Germain) and Cheick Kouyate (Crystal Palace) represent a solid base in midfield.
Napoli man Koulibaly is the side’s captain and chief defensive stalwart, and with Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy between the sticks, Senegal are perhaps one of the only sides at the African Cup of Nations 2021 to have such a well-balanced squad.
They should coast through an absolute doozy of a group and we’re expecting them to get to at least the semi-finals.
Zimbabwe – A crucial 2-1 win in Zambia handed Zimbabwe the initative in the qualification stage of AFCON 2021 and they didn’t let go of it, thanks largely to a very credible home draw with Algeria and a nip-and-tuck away win in Botswana back in March.
But we aren’t expecting too much of a fight from The Warriors. Qualification as one of the group stage’s best third-placed sides is perhaps their most likely passage to the knockout rounds, but this is a side that is severely lacking when it comes to high-level experience.
The only player to speak of who is playing at a good level of club football is defensive midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, who is currently struggling for game time at Premier League side Aston Villa. Their main source of goals is likely to be captain Knowledge Musona, who had a respectable record in Belgian football before heading for Saudi Arabia in 2021.
Guinea – Their place at AFCON was already secured by the time they lost 2-1 at Namibia in their final qualification game, and Guinea go into the tournament with a solid defensive record that will come in handy in tight games.
No more so than in their final home qualification game against Mali, with a 1-0 victory in Conakry confirming their place in Cameroon.
A string of three consecutive quarter-final appearances in the early-2000s perhaps represents their most consistent era, but there was also a final appearance in the mid 1970s when they were pipped to the title by Morocco.
As far as their squad is concerned, the only real household name is Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, who after a difficult start on Merseyside, is slowly beginning to find his feet. He will need to be at his best if Guinea are to make any inroads at this tournament.
Malawi – They certainly weren’t the great entertainers during qualification, but three 1-0 victories proved to be the trick as they squeezed into the tournament at the expense of Uganda.
Two comfortable defeats to group winners Burkina Faso should tell you all you need to know about where Malawi sit in the food chain of AFCON, but they will fancy their chances of qualification for the knockout rounds if they can get something out of their local derby with Zimbabwe.
The Flames have failed to generate much heat in their two other appearances at the African Cup of Nations in 1984 and 2010, with just one win to show for their six group games. As far as playing personnel is concerned, the majority are playing in the Malawian domestic league or the neighbouring South African pyramid. With that in mind, we aren’t expecting them to make too much of an impression.
Morocco – The Atlas Lions have a proud footballing tradition and were one of the best sides around in the late 1990s.
Their African Cup of Nations record is a solid one, but they would perhaps be disappointed that they failed to build on their 1976 triumph in Ethiopia, which is the only time they’ve won the continental crown.
But they went undefeated during qualification, conceding only one goal. Captain Roman Saiss is a solid cog in the Wolverhampton Wanderers defence, while PSG full-back Achraf Hakimi is one of the best in the world in his position.
Sevilla duo Munir El Haddadi and Youssef En-Nesyri are tidy options for manager Vahid Halilhodzic, who has also managed the likes of Ivory Coast, Algeria and Japan in what has been a rather nomadic coaching career.
Ghana – The Black Stars were perhaps hoping for a slightly easier group, but they should still have more than enough to make it through to the knockout stages.
Ghana emerged at the top of what was one of the more competitive qualification groups, and their relatively young squad is propped up by a handful of experienced campaigners.
The Ayew brothers are still plugging away, with younger Jordan plying his trade at Crystal Palace, but the star of the show is sure to be Arsenal man Thomas Partey, who is an all-action player who can make things happen.
Squad depth could be a problem for this side when they come up against the big guns, but they remain an interesting watch.
Comoros – Making their debut at the African Cup of Nations is Comoros, who managed to beat Kenya and Togo to second place in their qualification group despite scoring just four times in six matches.
A 0-0 draw at home to the well-fancied Egyptians in November of 2019 was a quite superb result and they didn’t look back, going undefeated in the group until their away trip to Cairo saw them lose 4-0.
That said, it’s difficult to see the island nation causing too much noise at AFCON 2021. As you can imagine, they’re a squad that is very much struggling for experience, with most of their side operating in the second and third tiers of French football.
Gabon – The Gabon side isn’t brimming with history when it comes to the African Cup of Nations, with their only significant showings coming when they reached the last eight in 1996 and 2012.
They’ll be hoping to do better than the last time they qualified, when they lost all three group games while hosting the tournament back in 2017.
A 3-0 win over DR Congo in March secured their qualification, but any prospects of doing well at the tournament rely on the form of Arsenal forward and Gabon captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The 32-year-old is no longer at the absolute peak of his powers, but he still has more than enough quality to make light work of most of the defences at this tournament. He’s likely to be the difference when his side face Comoros, and if they can nick a point elsewhere, they should sneak through.
Nigeria – The Super Eagles head into the tournament as one of the favourites and went undefeated during qualification, netting 14 goals in their six games.
But like their west African rivals Ghana, Nigeria aren’t quite the proposition they used to be, and could be defensively suspect when they come up against some of the stronger sides at AFCON 2021.
Up front, former Leicester City man Ahmed Musa has more than 100 caps, but the less experienced duo of Kelechi Iheanacho and Victor Osimhen should be mainstays of this side for years to come. Osimhen, in particular, looks a real prosect and is showing his promise in a Napoli shirt as his side look set for a tilt at the Serie A title.
And with a somewhat wobbly defence, we’re expecting some entertaining games involving Nigeria.
Egypt – With Nigeria also in the group, Group D is shaping up to be the Group of Death.
The Pharaohs are the most successful side in AFCON history with seven titles and conceded only three times on the way to qualification.
Mo Salah is the headliner of this squad, but there isn’t a great deal of depth aside from that, with the majority of their squad based in the Egyptian Premier League. Mostafa Mohamed has shown he has the goal scoring touch for Galatasaray, but with only six caps to his name, can he help Salah carry the Egyptian mantle?
Sudan – Sudan had plenty of work to do heading into their final qualification match but a 2-0 victory over South Africa in Omdurman secured a place in their first AFCON since a quarter-final finish in 2012.
Much of their success was built on a solid defence that conceded only three times during qualification, but with a squad that is almost exclusively made up of sides in the Sudan Premier League, we’re expecting them to struggle.
We can’t see them causing an upset against the likes of Egypt and Nigeria, so their best chance of squeaking through is by getting a comprehensive win against Guinea-Bissau.
Guinea-Bissau – The West African side are another team who had a bit of good fortune when qualifying for AFCON 2021.
Congo’s inability to beat Eswatini opened the door for the Djurtus and they secured their place in Cameroon with a 3-0 home win against Congo back in March.
But three defeats in six qualification games doesn’t exactly make for pretty reading, and their opener against Sudan is a massive game that will determine who has the best chance of finishing third in the group.
The Guinea-Bissau squad largely comprises of players from the Portuguese footballing pyramid, but there is a healthy blend of experience from a host of leagues throughout Europe. We have them down to beat Sudan to third place, but defeats against Nigeria and Egypt will make qualification tough.
Algeria – The Fennec Foxes come into the 2021 African Cup of Nations as the defending champions and look in rather imperious form.
The Algerians were by far and away the highest scorers during qualification, notching 19 in their six group games, and their squad is packed with experience of both high-level club football, as well as from their triumph in 2019.
Riyad Mahrez should be the star of the show, but on the other flank, West Ham winger Said Benrahma is a real threat. Up front, Baghdad Bounedjah is one of the most feared strikers in the Qatar Sports League with Al-Sadd, and he also scored the winner in the 2019 final against Ghana.
This should be an easy group, and they should make it deep this time around too.
Sierra Leone – The Leone Stars had perhaps the most dramatic route to the finals, beating Benin 1-0 in the final qualification game to sneak through by just a single goal on goal difference.
This will be their first African Cup of Nations for a quarter of a century, but they’ve failed to make it past the group stage in either of their two other appearances at the tournament.
Their squad isn’t anything to get particularly excited about, but one name that may ring a bell to English Premier League fans is that of 37-year-old Kei Kamara. The veteran forward spent much of his career in Major League Soccer but also took in spells with Norwich City and Middlesbrough.
Equatorial Guinea – The prime candidate for third in the group are Equatorial Guinea, who pipped Tanzania to the tournament courtesy of a 1-0 victory in March.
A record of seven goals in six qualification games suggests goals might be a problem – especially against the bigger hitters in the group – while the squad itself is made up largely of young players operating in the Spanish lower leagues.
We think they will beat Sierra Leone in their final group game, but they could well be out of the qualification picture by then.
Ivory Coast – They certainly aren’t the side they were a decade or so ago, but the Ivory Coast still have plenty of quality and a squad that has the tools to go the distance.
The only blot on their qualification copybook was a 2-1 defeat in Ethiopia in November 2019, but they made light work of the rest of their games to sail through comfortably.
The likes of Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure are long gone, but Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) , Eric Bailly (Manchester United) and Franck Kessie (AC Milan) are respected names in Europe and combine to create a solid Ivorian spine.
They could fall short in the semi-finals, but we expect the Elephants to put in a decent showing.
Tunisia – No side had a 100% record in qualification, but Tunisia went pretty close with five wins and a draw from their six matches.
The Eagles of Carthage have had a very fruitful time of it since the turn of the century, with a string of quarter-final appearances as well as a title to their name when they won the 2004 edition that they hosted.
There isn’t much in the way of star names in this side, but they can certainly count on the scoring exploits of Wahbi Khazri, who has a good record in French football with Saint-Etienne and will be a recognisable face to English football fans after his brief spell with Sunderland.
We fancy them to make the last eight once again, but they are likely to bow out at that point.
Mali – Mali regularly come into the AFCON with a talented squad and we’re expecting the same again of a side that lost only once on their way to qualifying.
The Eagles also have a very decent record in the tournament in recent years, with two third places and a couple of fourth-placed finishes in the past two decades.
And their squad is very much on the young side, with the majority playing over in the French leagues. That said, two players to watch out for are Yves Bissouma of Brighton and Moussa Djenepo of Southampton. The Premier League duo both have match-winning qualities and should have a big say on their side’s success in Cameroon.
Mauritania – After spending all of their history as one of the minor footballing nations of the continent, Mauritania will be competing in their second successive African Cup of Nations, after also making the group stage in 2019.
Two draws and a defeat last time out is certainly no disgrace for a debuting side, and they’ll be confident of building on that after conceding just four times on the way to qualifying.
Only one player in the squad has more than 50 caps to their name, with strike duo Adama Ba and Aboubakar Kamara arguably the most high-profile players as far as club pedigree goes, with both playing in the Greek Super League.
And in a tough group, they’re likely to struggle to escape to the knockout rounds once again.
Gambia – Completing the 2021 African Cup of Nation entrants are Gambia, who topped a tricky qualification group featuring the likes of DR Congo and Gabon.
This will be their tournament debut, but a look at their squad suggests they could have enough to pinch a spot in the knockout rounds.
Musa Barrow is a player to keep an eye out for. The 22-year-old has been hugely impressive for Bologna in Serie A and is almost certain to have a big future at a top side in Europe.
If they can win their opener against Mauritania – which they really should – then they are in a with a real chance of qualifying for the next stage, and on their day, they can take the likes of Mali and Tunisia all the way.
COVID-19 has had an effect on everybody in the footballing world and the African Cup of Nations 2021 was no different.
As the title suggests, the tournament was initially set to take place between January and February of 2021, but the shockwaves of the pandemic meant that the tournament was postponed until the following year.
If there are any further postponements or delays, we will keep you updated, but at this stage, it looks likely that the tournament will finally go ahead at the turn of the year.
As we’ve touched on a few times in this preview, the host of the African Cup of Nations tends to do particularly well.
No more so than in the early editions of the tournament, with the host reaching the final in each of the first five tournaments.
Egypt reached three of those finals – winning twice – while Ghana emerged victorious from both of their final appearances in the 1960s.
A four-year spell in the 1980s saw the north African trio of Egypt, Algeria and Morocco claim a victory apiece, before we had five separate winners of the tournament in the 1990s.
The turn of the century saw Cameroon win back-to-back Cup of Nations titles via penalty shootouts, before Egypt won three of the next four tournaments between 2004 and 2010.
The last decade of the tournament has seen one or two surprises, with Zambia stunning favourites Ivory Coast to win the 2010 trophy, while Burkina Faso defied the odds to reach the 2013 final.
2021 hosts Cameroon were the last winners of the tournament when it was hosted outside of north Africa, winning the 2017 edition in Gabon with a 2-1 victory over Egypt, before the Pharaohs claimed their seventh AFCON title just a couple of years later when they beat Senegal 1-0.