Facts & figures about the Africa Cup of Nations

Karim Farouk
Monday 9 Feb 2015
Interesting facts about the Africa Cup of Nations

*Ivory Coast won the 1992 title without conceding a single goal in their six-match campaign.

* Ivory Coast didn't score any goals from open play during the four finals they played in 1992, 2006, 2013 and 2015 as they were held to 0-0 draws.

*Egyptian legend Mohamed Diab El-Attar “El-Diba” is the only player to have scored four goals in a final game - Egypt’s 4-0 victory over Ethiopia in 1957.

*The first goal of the African Cup of Nations was scored by Egyptian forward Raafat Attia, who converted a penalty against Sudan in 1957. The 1000th goal was also a penalty converted by Nigeria's Captain Austin Jay-Jay Okocha in 2004 in Tunisia. The 1500th goal was scored by Ghana midfielder Mubarak Wakaso in 2015.

*For the first time in CAN history, the 2000 tournament was held in two countries, Ghana and Nigeria.

*In 1982, the Confederation of African Football rescinded the two-player limit on foreign based players for each national team, allowing all the countries to use their best stars. Before 1967, no foreign-based players were eligible to play in the Nations Cup.

*The African Cup of Nations was televised for the first time in the 1970 edition in Sudan.

*The 1970 final was the only one which had to be replayed as Zaire were held to a 2-2 draw by Zambia in the final. Two days later, Zaire defeated Zambia 2-0 at Cairo Stadium to claim the title.

*The competition initially started with three teams in 1957, expanded to four teams in 1962, six in 1963, eight in 1968, 12 in 1992 and 16 in 1998.

*The Confederation of African football (CAF) decided to hold CAN in odd-numbered years starting 2013 to avoid playing in the same year of the World Cup. Coaches and players from African countries that qualified for World Cups had previously complained about a packed schedule. The CAN has been played in even years since 1968.

*Nigeria used three captains during their game against Benin in CAN 2010. Captain Joseph Yobo started the game but had to be replaced because of injury. He gave the captain's armband to Yakubu Aiyegbeni, who was also substituted as the armband was finally given to Osaze Odenwengie. The Super Eagles ended up having three captains in one match.

*During the 1965 edition in Tunisia, the hosts reached the final game via a coin tossing as they were level with Senegal on the number of points and goal difference. The Tunisians lost the final 3-2 against Ghana. A coin toss was also used in 1988, helping Algeria reach the semi-finals at the expense of Ivory Coast. Just like Tunisia, Algeria were unfortunate in the semi-finals as they lost to Nigeria 9-8 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.

*The 1959 edition in Egypt featured only three participants: Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. The trio had three coaches from Eastern Europe: Czechoslovakians Jiri Starosta (Ethiopia) and Josef Hada (Sudan) and Hungarian Pal Titkos (Egypt). Titkos led the Pharaohs to the title.

*Given that South Africa were one of the founders of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), they were due to play in the first CAN edition in 1957 but were suspended because of their apartheid regime, as they intended to play with a squad including only Caucasians. They made a victorious return in 1996 when they won the title on home soil.

*Egypt forward Mohamed Nagy “Gedo” is the best ever substitute in the history of CAN, having finished the 2010 edition as the top scorer with five goals scored off the bench.

*Egyptian Abdel-Aziz Salem - who became the first CAF president – went to the FIFA Congress in Zurich in 1956 with the aim of establishing the Confederation of African Football (CAF). However, the demand was subject to sarcasm due to the little number of cofounders (Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia), and wasn’t even included in the meeting’s agenda. Salem decided to withdraw from the Congress as a sign of protest, saying “If all the countries aren’t treated equally here, then our presence is useless.” Sudanese Mohamed Abdelhalim followed in his footsteps as FIFA eventually responded to their demand. The CAF was officially founded in 8 February 1957.

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