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AFCON Watch: Facts, Figures And The African Cultural Razzmatazz

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In the past half-century or so, big continental competitions have become more regular and are now like a thing really. The European Championships, the Copa America, the Asian cup etcetera.

Africa as a continent is not exempted from this pseudo-norm. Thus, the purpose of AFCON_Watch is to tell the new African story (and no, not an African tale by moonlight)  from the perspective of football through the African Cup of Nations.

The African cultural and Sports space is filled with so much fun, colour, and beauty and it is almost a general consensus that not enough people know about this aspect of Africa. So for the next few months, AFCON_Watch will be bringing to the purview of the world a totality of African football involvements with a lot of African football content from African superstar and youngster focuses, team previews and squad predictions, African football facts and figures, regular giveaways, competitions, Twitter content in both English and French, etc. This will lead to one of the biggest quiz competitions in the African space with mouth-watering prizes.

As a brief overview, several editions of the African Cup of Nations have been held in varying locations and in diverse periods over the years. The first ever edition of the African Cup of Nations was held in 1957, in Sudan and had Egypt as its first ever winner.

The African Cup of Nations is held every 2 years and 2019 will be the 32nd edition of such. The competition has just been moved to the summer as it was always previously held in January. It has just been expanded to 24 teams for the 2019 edition.

7-time champions, Egypt lead the way in the AFCON hall of fame with Ghana a fair way behind with 4 AFCON titles. Egypt also hold the record for the most AFCON appearances with 24 appearances and Ivory Coast a close second with 23. Coincidentally, Egypt is the host of the 2019 AFCON.

Nigeria has won the AFCON 3 times from appearing in the competition 18 times. South Africa was billed to take part in the first ever edition but didn’t make their first appearance till the 1996 edition due to their issues with Apartheid and white player representation in the National team.

Senegal holds the unenviable record of the country with the most appearances without a single title, 15 (surely they’ve got a great chance this year).

Samuel Eto’o holds the record for the most overall goals in AFCON history with 18 goals from 6 competitions. Rigobert Song and Ahmed Hassan hold the record for the most AFCON competitions 8 each. In due time, we’ll get through all the facts, figures and statistics.

The AFCON 2019 will be held in Egypt and a total of 24 teams will be involved. There will be 2 debutants in the summer competition, Mauritania and Madagascar. Regulars once again include countries like Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana etc.

The tournament was scheduled to be hosted by Cameroon but it was stripped off them due to infrastructural delays and the presence of insurgencies. It will be called the Total African Cup of Nations due to the 8 year sponsorship deal given to Total in 2016.

At least 6 venues are on the cards to host the games with the largest of them being the Cairo International Stadium with a 74,000 capacity, The Video Assistant Referees will be involved in the competition starting from the Round of 16.

From the past editions, It is easy to see why the Total African Cup of Nations should be looked forward to. Is it the different colorful hair-styles from players like Aristide Bance, Robert Kidiaba, Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan or is it also Kidiaba’s funny sit-jump goal celebration (maybe we’ll see a zanku this year or the gwara-gwara), or the paint all over the bodies of fans across the continent, or Cameroon’s jerseys over the years (this year’s banter jersey looks like it will be Kenya), there’s always enough to keep one’s fancy and interest in the competiton.

The beauty of the competition is that it brings together the rapidly increasing diversity in the African culture together and top players in Europe get to play alongside players who ply their trade in the deeper recesses of Europe or even in Africa. We at AFCON_Watch are keenly looking forward to the next few months… are you?

Shout out to @FEMMEMONDIALE (Michelle Dada, Lefootmondialblog.wordpress.com), Nigerian female football content creator both in English and French. Bless.

Muyiwa Adagunodo

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