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AFCON- Africa Cup of Nations

Top 10 nations with most AFCON final appearances

Published at :February 10, 2024 at 5:12 PM
Modified at :February 10, 2024 at 5:12 PM
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Manav Chowdhury


Nigeria & Ivory Coast will play in AFCON 2023 final

The African Cup of Nations (AFCON) is more than just a football tournament; it is a celebration of African culture, unity, and the spirit of competition. In addition to showcasing their footballing abilities, their constant presence reflects their nations’ undying desire and determination to represent them on the biggest footballing stage in Africa. The tournament has been dominated by several bigwigs from North and West Africa.

Unlike other international tournaments, AFCON is usually held in January/February, a period during which the European football season is usually well underway. This has been a bone of contention between clubs and national teams, sometimes depriving some teams of their best players in the competition.

Making it into the final of this big tournament is an achievement on its own, many teams have made it into the final multiple times. Teams like South Africa, Morocco, Ethiopia and DR Congo have made it into the final two times respectively. Here we look at the top ten countries with the most AFCON final appearances:

10. Senegal – 3

They are one of Africa’s most famous national football teams, Senegal’s first appearance in the Africa Cup of Nations was in 1965, when they lost 1–0 to Ivory Coast for fourth place. They hosted the 1992 African Cup of Nations, where they made it to the quarter-finals, and finished as runners-up in both 2002 and 2019. Senegal would finally win their first AFCON title in 2021, defeating Egypt in the final on penalties following a 0–0 draw after extra time.

9. Sudan – 3

In 1957, it was one of the three teams to participate in the inaugural Africa Cup of Nations, the other two being Egypt and Ethiopia. Sudan is one of the oldest teams in Africa and won the 1970 Africa Cup of Nations as hosts. In 1959 and 1963 they were runners-up.

8. Tunisia – 3

Tunisia‘s disciplined and talented play has led to 20 appearances in the tournament. They have shown remarkable consistency, participating in every edition since 1994, which underscores their stable footballing structure. In 1965 and 1996 they were runners-up and they won their first AFCON title in 2004.

7. Zambia – 3

Known as the Copper Bullets, Zambia’s 17 appearances in AFCON, including a memorable victory in 2012, demonstrate their love for football and capacity for strong performances. The team won an Africa Cup of Nations title in 2012. They were runner-ups in 1974 and 1994. Even though Zambia doesn’t compete as often as some other countries, its love of football and irregular strong performances are still a part of the tournament’s rich history.

6. Algeria – 3

They are known for their tactical prowess and have been a consistent competitor in the tournament. Algeria’s footballing legacy and their capacity to compete against any team on the continent are highlighted by their 19 appearances. The North African team has qualified for four World Cups in 1982, 1986, 2010 and 2014. In 1990 and 2019 they were the AFCON champions and in 1980 they were runner-ups.

5. Ivory Coast – 5

The team has won the Africa Cup of Nations twice, in 1992 and 2015, and has qualified for the FIFA World Cup three times, in 2006, 2010, and 2014. Known for their powerful squads and competitive spirit, they have consistently produced top-class players who have made an impact both in Africa and on the global stage. In 1992 they became the champions for the first time and in 2015 second time. In 2006 and 2012 they were runner-ups and they are the finalists in the ongoing AFCON.

AFCON final most appearances

4. Cameroon – 7

Cameroon have been a top footballing nation in Africa since the commencement of the AFCON tournament. The Indomitable Lions have won the trophy five times in their history. The Indomitable Lions have a rich history in African football, marked by aggressive play and a winning mentality. In 1984, 1988, 2002, 2002 and 2007 they were crowned champions in AFCON. In 1986 and 2008 they ended up as runner-ups.

3. Nigeria – 8

Nigeria AFCON 2023
The Super Eagles reached their eighth final in 2023

Nigeria‘s Super Eagles are another of the continent’s heavyweights. They have been champions thrice(1980, 1994, 2013). The Super Eagles are known for their tactical intelligence and the ability to produce high-caliber players. Throughout history, the team has qualified for six of the last eight FIFA World Cups, missing only the 2006 and 2022 editions. They were runner-ups in 1984, 1988, 1990, and 2000 they are also the finalists in the ongoing AFCON where they will face the host nation Ivory Coast.

2. Ghana – 9

The team has won the Africa Cup of Nations four times (1963, 1965, 1978, and 1982), while finishing as runners-up five times (1968, 1970, 1992, 2010, and 2015). The Black Stars were the first side to win the trophy four times in the history of the tournament. Their footballing legacy is enriched by a tradition of producing players who excel in international leagues, maintaining a strong presence in the tournament.

1. Egypt – 10

Egypt first participated in the first Africa Cup of Nations tournament in 1957. Egypt won 4–0 in the final. The Pharaohs of Egypt have dominated African football from the first edition of AFCON. The Egyptians have won the Africa Cup of Nations a record seven times, including three times consecutively in the 2000s. They were champions in 1957,1959, 1986, 1998, 2006,2008 and 2010 editions of AFCON and runner-ups in 1962, 2017 and 2021.

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