African Cup of Nations reaching new heights
African Cup of Nations

 

The African Cup of Nations Tournament has begun and the pride of Africa will be on display as the best nations on the continent battle for the glory of being named the best national team in Africa.

The 32nd edition of the African Cup of Nations has been expanded from 16 to 24 teams and will be played mid-year for the first time in its history. All eyes will be on Egypt who will be hosting the tournament for the 5th time in their history with matches being played in Cairo, Ismailia, Suez and Alexandria.

Home advantage is often a major factor contributing to success at the tournament with Egypt becoming champions on 3 of the 5 occasions that they have been the hosts. Furthermore, overall the hosts of AFCON have been the champions on 11 occasions; however the last time the hosts have won was in 2006.

The Favourites at African Cup of Nations 2019

Egypt

The pharaohs playing on their home ground will be the favourites to win the trophy this year. The Egyptians are the most successful team at AFCON and tend to be very competitive and successful at home. Egypt will be looking to star player Mo Salah, to help them lift the title.

Senegal

Senegal has a very experienced squad this year and they have decided to go with an all European based team to the tournament this year. Their best result at AFCON is a runner up medal that occurred in 2002. They will be looking to experienced players such as Sadio Mane’ and Demba Ba.

Interesting facts

  • Egypt will be hosting the African Cup of Nations for a record 5th time
  • In the first tournament in 1957, there were only 3 countries that participated including Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia
  • Egypt has won the most titles with 7 followed by Cameroon with 5, Ghana with 4, Nigeria with 3, and the DRC and Ivory Coast with 2 each
  • Burundi, Madagascar and Mauritania will be playing in the tournament for the first time
  • AFCON’s leading overall goal scorer is Samuel Eto’o who accumulated 18 goals in 6 tournaments
  • At the age of 44, Egyptian goal keeper Essam el Hadary became the oldest player in the tournament
  • The youngest goal scorer and player in the tournament was Shiva N’zigou of Gabon

5 Players to watch out for this year

Mohamed Salah

Mo Salah is the poster boy for African soccer stars. He has been instrumental in Liverpool FC lifting the UEFA Champions League and he was also joint top goal scorer in this year’s Premier League. He has scored 39 goals in 63 appearances for Egypt.

Naby Keita

24 year old Keita is the Guinean national team captain and was also part of the Liverpool team that was so successful this year. Guinea will be hoping that he can control the midfield at AFCON resulting in the team moving forward.

Andre Onana

Andre has been a star goal keeper for his club Ajax Amsterdam this season and has been instrumental in them making the Semi Finals of the Champions League and winning the Dutch Eredivisie League this season.

Riyad Mahrez

Riyad is one of the best players in world football and is part of the English conquering giants Manchester City who clinched the Premier League and FA Cup this year. He has scored 10 goals in 45 international matches.

Sadio Mane ‘

The Senegalese player was part of the Champion League title winning Liverpool team this season ending up joint top goal scorer with 22 goals in the Premier League and 26 goals in all competitions. He will have to be in top form if Senegal wants to win their first AFCON title.

This is Africa’s time to shine on the world stage with soccer in Africa reaching new heights with an expanded African Cup of Nations Tournament to ensure greater competition between nations on the African continent. Soccer in Africa is certainly on the right track with 2 African players being awarded the joint top goal scorer in the Premier league this season which just shows how the talent in Africa is on the rise.

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Tristan

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