AFCON 2021 Countdown D-day -8: Discover the ten previous Champions to race for another Crown in Cameroon

By Bakah Derick 

From January 9 2022, not fewer than nine previous champions of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will join 15 non champions in a contest to increase country profile in the biennial football tournament. For the second time, 24 teams will battle for the continental crown after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) raised the number of participating teams from 16 to 24. This is a quick look at the team's expected in Cameroon 

With 25 participations since 1957, Egypt is the most tittled country in the upcoming tournament. Host in 2019, the Pharaohs hold seven titles won in 1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010. Egypt comes to Cameroon with the hope of writing their wrongs from the 2017 and 2019 editions. Carlos Queiroz will be counting on the country's super star Mohamed Salah and a host of top rated players to.increase the title tally. Currently ranked 45 on the FIFA for December 2021, Egypt remains the first Africa country to play the world cup and first to make top 10. The Egyptians have been drawn in Group D based in Garoua alongside Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau and Sudan. The Pharaohs were present in 2019 as host. 
Mohammed Salah celebrating goal for Egypt 


As host, Cameroon will be playing the final phase of the AFCON for the 20th time since 1970. Nicknamed the Indomitable lions, Cameroon is the second most successful AFCON team with five titles won in 1984, 1988, 2000, 2002, 2017. With the country's top scorer Samuel Eto'o with 56 goals now President of the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT), Coach António Conceição da Silva Oliveira comes with a hyper motivated Cameroon added to being the host country. Currently ranked 50th in the world, Cameroon has qualified seven times for the FIFA World Cup a record no African has challenged. Ranked in Group A, Cameroon will play in the Olembe Stadium alongside Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Cape Verde. Cameroon was present during the last edition in 2019 as defending champions but could not go pass the quarter finals. 
Cameroon National Team

The Black Stars will be coming to Cameroon for their 23rd AFCON since 1963. Representing the oldest football association in Africa founded in 1920, Ghana holds four Africa Cup of Nations titles. Ghana will win their first continental trophy in 1963 before others in 1965, 1978 and 1982. Coach Milovan Rajevac is leading a group of Ghanaians to Cameroon with the mission to add another star to their most cherished football wear. The five-time runners up currently ranked 52nd in the world have three world cup participation with the best in 2010 on African soil when they qualified for the quarter finals. To play alongside Gabon, Comoros and Morocco, Ghana will play in Group C. Their last AFCON participation  was in 2019 in Egypt. 
Ghana National Team


Cameroon's neighbours and Africa's most populous Nation is in for their 19th AFCON. Surprisingly compared to their popularity, Nigeria holds only three AFCON titles won in 1980, 1994, and 2013. Rashidi Yekini's (Super Eagles top scorer 37) country first played the AFCON in 1963 and in April 1994, the Nigerian national football team was ranked 5th in the FIFA rankings, the highest FIFA ranking position ever achieved by an African football team. Caretaker coach Augustine Eguavoen brings Ahmed Musa and his men to Cameroon after taking over just a few weeks back. To lodge in Garoua, Nigeria will compete in Group D with their biggest obstacle expected to be AFCON seven time winners Egypt, Guinea-Bissau and Sudan.. The Super Eagles were present during the 2019 edition. 
Nigeria National Team celebrating goal against Argentina 


They are the defending champions with two titles won in 1990 when they hosted and 2019 in Egypt. With a rich mix of the old and the young, Algeria comes to Cameroon with the vision to retain their title. With 19  participations, the Desert Warriors will be in Cameroon with Coach Djamel Belmadi who played for the Algerian National team from 2000-2004. Motivated by their win of the FIFA Arab Cup recently, the Fennec foxes hopes to easily over power Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone in Group E. 
Picture of Algeria defending champions as they celebrate win in Egypt

Cote d'Ivoire 

The Elephants are holders of two tittles. They won their first tittle in 1992 against Ghana on penalties at the Stade Léopold Sédar Senghor in Dakar, Senegal. The second came in 2015 after they beat Ghana again on penalties in Bata, Equatorial Guinea. Coach Patrice Beaumelle and his contingent have been drawn in Group E together with the defending champion Algeria.  Since their first participation in 1965, Cote d'Ivoire will be in Cameroon for their 24th AFCON. They were present at the Egypt 2019 edition. Their all time top scorer and retired Didier Drogba is likely to be in Cameroon with the team as a source of motivation. 
Cote d'Ivoire celebrating after goal against Cameroon in World Cup qualifier 2021

The Walias will be in Cameroon for their 11 AFCON participation with one title won in 1962 at home after their first participation in 1957. Their history with the Africa Cup of Nations has not been smooth following their absence from 1982 to 2013. Within this period of  31 years, Ethiopia was off the AFCON despite being one of the successful countries in the competition at inception. Currently ranked 137th in the world, one may quickly want to underestimate their potentials and position coach Wubetu Abate may not share. His team was the first to arrive Cameroon which is a clear show of their readiness to phase the challenge ahead. Though he consider's Cameroon a challenge, the Wallias Mnagager believes that his team has the potential to manage Burkina Faso and Cape Verde to grab a second round ticket. 
Ethiopia celebrates first AFCON qualification since 2013


Coach Vahid Halilhodžić is leading a highly respected team in African Football yet with just one title. This has been partly due to the footprints they left after particiting for only four years. The Atlas Lions took part in their first AFCON final phase in 1972 and will win the competition in 1976. With 18 participations, the Moroccans are certainly one of the experienced sides coming to Cameroon. They will be counting on Vahid's experience to lineup players that can fully represent the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF). Lodged in Group C, the Atlas Lions will have to show proof of strength and ability against Gabon, Ghana and tournament new comers Comoros. They were present at the 2019 edition in Egypt but failed to finish top. 
Morocco National Team

Undisputedly the birth place of the continental football event, Sudan was one of three teams that played the maiden edition of the AFCON in 1957. Though they win on home soil that year, they will clinch their first and only tittle in 1970 when the competition came back home. They eliminated Ethiopia, Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Egypt and even Ghana to emerged champions. This is surely the reminder coach Burhan Tia will be telling his battalion to Cameroon after many years of their football decline. With nine participations,  Sudan is certainly no new comer to the AFCON. Ranked 125th in the world, The Falcons have a reputation that can inspire them over Egypt, Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau with whom they will play in Group D in Garoua North of Cameroon. 
Sudan National Team


Drawn in Group F alongside the Gambia, Mali and Mauritania, the Carthage Eagles with 20 participations, one title and two time runners up presents itself already as the favourites. With their first AFCON participation dating as far back as 1962, Tunisia are obviously an experienced AFCON side despite winning only one title on home soil in 2004. Ranked 30th in December 2021 FIFA rankings is no doubt an indication the Tunisians will need to be watched closely despite not being able to shine during the 2019 in Egypt where they were highly rated. 
Tunisia National celebrating goal

These previous champions shall be racing with 14 runners up, fourth place winner, quarterfinals, group stage finiahers and first timers

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