Top six highest-scoring Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in history
The CAF AFCON has a very rich history
In world football, European clubs, leagues and even national competition gets the attention first than any other. Talking about national competition, UEFA organises the European Football Championship for nations across Europe. It is one of the most anticipated competitions. But according to history, it started in 1960. And Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on the other hand started in comparision 3 years earlier.
The ongoing 2023 AFCON is over with group stage fixtures of the competition. A total of 89 goals have already been scored. The Round of 16 is also underway currently. Many more goals are expected to be scored along the way till the finals on 12 February.
With a deep history that dates back even before its European counterpart, UEFA Euro, let’s have a look at the highest-ever scoring competitions of AFCON.
6. 88 goals – 2004 AFCON, Tunisia
The 2004 Africa Cup of Nations was held in Tunisia. Tunisia is a country in North Africa bordering Libya and Algeria. The 24th edition was sponsored by Nokia and a total of 16 teams participated in the competition. Tunisia national football team ended up winning the tournament for the very first time and that too in their own country. A total of 88 goals were scored which brought the average to 2.75 goals per match.
5. 93 goals – 1998 AFCON, Burkina Faso
The special thing about the 1998 edition was that it became the first ever to witness more than 90 goals. The West African nation Burkina Faso handled all the responsibilities and obligations that come as a duty with the hosting rights. It was contested between 16 teams and was the 21st edition of the competition. The Egypt national football team ended up winning the title after beating South Africa 2-0. The host nation was able to secure a 4th place finish.
4. 99 goals – 2008 AFCON, Ghana
The FIFA World Cup 2010 was meant to happen in South Africa. This set the energetic tone for the 2008 AFCON which was observed just 2 years prior on the calendar.
Players were bound to be ever-hungry to calibrate their chances for the World Cup. Contested in the land of Ghana, the competition just missed the century mark. A total of 99 goals were recorded after completing 32 matches. Samuel Eto’o from Cameroon won the Golden Boot award scoring 5 goals.
3. 100 goals – 2021 AFCON, Cameroon
In contrast to the 2008 version which was contested between 16 teams, the 2021 AFCON title was fought between 24 teams. This meant more matches which were also expected to have more goals. But in reality, the tournament produced lower than the expectations of fans worldwide.
The 2021 edition could only produce an average of 1.92 goals per match to total 100 goals in total. Vincent Aboubakar managed to score 8 goals. And that was just a goal short of equally the historic feat of Ndaye Mulamba’s 9 goals set in 1974.
2. 102 goals – 2019 AFCON, Egypt
The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations wasn’t the first one with 24 teams in competition. The 2019 which was hosted in Egypt became the first ever AFCON to play out with 24 teams. A total of 102 goals were scored and the tournament also achieved the century mark for the first time.
Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo bagged the top scorer prize with 5 goals. The Algeria national football team won the title against Senegal by a 1-0 scoreline.
1. 119 goals – 2023 AFCON, Ivory Coast
Although the tournament goes by the name 2023 AFCON, it is happening in 2024. A risk of heavy rains was accessed to happen in the original timeline in the host country. This was the sole reason for advancing the tournament schedule to 2024.
A total of 24 teams began with group stage battles comprising 4 teams each. With the group stages over, 89 goals have already been recorded. This puts the 2023 AFCON a step ahead of the Tunisia-hosted one. Only 3 games out of 36 group games ended in 0-0 draws.
The tournament ended with 119 goals, with three coming in the final match. 19 goals more than the previous edition.
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