The CAF Africa cup of nations is one of the main International Association football competitions in Africa. The event is also called total Africa cup of nations for sponsorship purposes. The first game was launched in 1957 and was sanctioned by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). The game is held every two years since 1968 and the defending champions are Cameroon. The team that won most of the seasons is Egypt, winning seven times. The match was changed to being held every odd two years so as to avoid clashes with FIFA in 2013.
The first match was in Khartoum, Sudan which was played by three participating nation teams: Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. South Africa was initially scheduled to compete, but they were disqualified by the apartheid rules that existed within the then governments. The consecutive years saw the growth off the competition to the extent that there arouses a need for the qualifying games, and it has been growing since. Since 2017, there has been 16 teams that participate with them separated into 4 groups advancing to a knock-out stage.
The game has been awarding three different types of trophies over the years to the winners of the competition. The original trophy, Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem trophy, was made of silver and it was named after the president of CAF, Egyptian Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem. When Ghana won the first three African cup of nations tournament, it gained the permanent rights to possess the trophy in 1978.
The second trophy was awarded during the period 1980-2000. The trophy of African unity or African unity cup was given to CAF by the supreme council for sports in Africa before the 1980 tournament. The trophy was a cylindrical piece with the Olympic rings over the map of the African continent over it. The base was is square and has a stylish triangular handle. The cup was given to Cameroon permanently in 2000 after having won the trophy three times.
The third trophy was revealed in 2001, a gold-plated cup devised in Italy. The trophy was first awarded to the then defending champions, Cameroon, after they won the 2002 version of the game. Egypt won the gold-plated trophy indefinitely in 2010 after they won the three African cups. Unlike the other champions of the trophies, Egypt was presented with a large sized replica of the trophy and the rest of winners were given the smaller replica for their trophy cabinets.
Major Changes in CAF Africa Cup of Nations
The changes that the game has undergone throughout the years and in July 2017, two main changes were proposed, and they were accepted on 20th July 2017 at the meeting in Rabat, Morocco.
The changes that were implemented under the leadership of Ahmed Ahmed’s were:
- The competition to be held in the summer rather than January
- The teams to be extended from 16 to 24.
African Cup of Nations 2019 Schedule, Venues and Details
The African cup of nations 2019 is scheduled to become the 32nd International men’s football championship of Africa. The tournament is scheduled to be held from 21st June to 19th July 2019. This will be the first time that the matches will be held during summers instead of during January and also the first match with 16-24 teams, as decided by the 2017 meeting.
The matches were initially supposed to be held at Cameroon as it was the host nation as decided by the CAF committee. Due to infrastructural delay, the committee has decided to change the venue to Egypt, and they are declared as the new official host for the year 2019. The dates have also been moved from the original date 15th June to 21st June due to Ramadan.
In July 2016, the African cup of nations (Totals) received an eight-year sponsorship package to support 10 of its major tournaments from the Confederation of African Football. Total began with the AFCON match tournaments that was held in Gabon in 2017.
This is going to be the fifth time that Egypt will be the hosting nation to African cup of nations football tournament. This will be the first time in 13 years that a north-African country will be hosting the tournaments since Egypt hosted the same in 2006. The meeting of CAF held in Dakar, Senegal decided to make Egypt as the hosting nation on January 8th, 2019.
The hosting nation will be permitted an automatic qualification spot and the other 23 teams will have to go through the qualifying round to enter to the next level. Finally, these 24 teams will be categorized into six groups of 4 teams each. In this stage, the top two teams of each group, along with the best four third-position teams, will be selected to go to the round of 16. Winners of this level will qualify to enter the quarterfinals, then comes semifinals and finals alongside losers’ finals.