Nine interesting facts  you need to know about the Africa Cup of Nations ahead of the 2023 edition

AFCON 2023 (Photo Credit: Imago)

FOOTBALL Nine interesting facts you need to know about the Africa Cup of Nations ahead of the 2023 edition

Mark Kinyanjui 19:33 - 12.01.2024

Nine interesting facts you need to know about the AFCON.

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Ivory Coast will commence this weekend as the continent grabs the attention of the watching world in a bumper 24-team tournament.

The tournament always brings a sense of joy amongst Africans who are always keen to support their teams and players in the hope they can deliver glory.

It is a historic competition that was first staged in 1957 and therefore is older than the European Championships, with another chapter to be written in Africa’s showpiece event.

Pulse Sports brings you 10 interesting facts you need to know about the continental showpiece.

1.Long-standing Claude


Frenchman Claude Le Roy  holds the record for most tournaments as a coach,  having led teams at nine separate Cup of Nations between 1986 and 2017.

Le Roy won the tournament in 1988 while in charge of Cameroon, which was incidentally his maiden job in African football. He also coached Senegal. DRC, Ghana, Congo and Togo.

It perhaps explains why he is nicknamed the 'African Wichdoctor'.

2. DRC holds two unwanted records

 The Democratic Republic of Congo holds two unwanted Cup of Nations records.

The first one being that they have lost the most games (29) and conceded the most goals (102) at the showpiece event down the years in over 19 appearances in the competition.

They were however champions in the 1968 and 1974 editions back when the country was still named Zaire.

3. Eto'o is the leading goalscorer in tournament history

 Football great Samuel Eto’o holds the record for the most goals at the Cup of Nations finals, having scored 18 goals in 29 matches in six tournaments between 2000 and 2010.

His predatory instincts and impact on the game remain unmatched. Presently, the Cameroon FA boss, Eto’o, will be in Cote d’Ivoire to ginger the Lions to possibly another AFCON triumph.

4. Ivory Coast hosting tournament a second time

Ivory Coast will be hosting the competition for the second time.

They previously staged the finals in 1984 when Cameroon defeated Nigeria 3-1 in the decider.

5. Zambian the only goalkeeper to score a goal at tournament

Zambian keeper Kennedy Mwenee is the only goalkeeper in the competition’s history to have scored a goal at the AFCON finals.

He netted a penalty in a 1-1 pool stage draw with Nigeria in 2013, a tournament that was held in South Africa.

6. Egypt boast the highest title record

Egypt have won the most Cup of Nations titles with seven 

They are most successful team in the competition. Cameroon are second on the list with five wins.

7. Uganda one of five nations to have never won the trophy as finalists

Uganda is one of five countries to have reached the Cup of Nations finals but who have never lifted the trophy. 

The others are Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Libya. 

Infact, Uganda are the only East African nation to have ever managed to get out of the group stages,  having done so thrice.

8. Egypt boast having the most match-wins in history

Egypt forward Mohamed Salah will miss Liverpool's visit to title rivals Arsenal in January due to AFCON participation

Egypt are the side with the most match wins at the Cup of Nations

. They have claimed victory in 60 of their 107 games to go with 20 draws and 27 losses. 

They have also scored the most goals with 168.

9. 13 defending champions have gone on to crash out of the group stages

9. Defending champions have gone on to crush out of the group stages 13 times, with the first being DR Congo's shock exit in 1970.

It even recently happened in the last showing when  champions Algeria had an early exit. 

There was a horror run between 1970 and 1992 when the champions went out in the pool stages in 10 out of 12 tournaments

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