The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in Ivory Coast a year late on Saturday as the continent grabs the attention of the watching world in a bumper 24-team tournament.

It is a historic competition that was first staged in 1957 and therefore is older than the European Championships, with another chapter to be written in Africa’s showpiece event.

We take a look at the A-Z of the Africa Cup of Nations

A – ALGERIA have been a near constant presence at the Cup of Nations but won the title only twice – in 1990 on home soil and then again in Egypt in 2019. This would be their first win outside of North Africa.

B – BENNI MCCARTHY is the most prolific scorer for Bafana Bafana at the Cup of Nations finals with seven goals. Four of those came in a remarkable 13-minute spell against Namibia in 1998.

C – Frenchman CLAUDE LEROY holds the record for most tournaments as a coach having led teams at nine separate Cup of Nations between 1986 and 2017.

D – The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO hold two unwanted Cup of Nations records – they have lost the most games (29) and conceded the most goals (102) at the showpiece event down the years. They have been to 19 previous finals.

E – SAMUEL ETO’O holds the record for the most goals at the Cup of Nations finals with 18 from 29 matches across six tournaments between 2000 and 2010.

F – Striker FRANCILEUDO SANTOS was a Brazilian import for Tunisia who scored 10 goals across three Cup of Nations finals between 2004 and 2008. No player has netted more goals in just three tournament appearances.

G – GHANA have won an impressive four Cup of Nations titles, but none since 1982. The 42 year wait for the Black Stars has been agonising. Can they end it this year?

H – Former Egypt coach HASSAN SHEHATA won three Cup of Nations titles in a row between 2006 and 2010, the only tactician to do so. Ghana’s Charles Gyamfi also won the title three times, though not consecutively.

I – IVORY COAST are hosting the finals for the second time. They previously staged the finals in 1984 when Cameroon defeated Nigeria 3-1 in the decider.

J – JAY-JAY OKOCHA, so good they named him twice! The Nigeria playmaker won his only Cup of Nations title in 1994, but a decade on he was named best player at the 2004 finals in Tunisia. He scored four goals in the tournament, including in a 4-0 win over Bafana Bafana. Nigeria finished third. A true African legend.

K – KENNEDY MWEENE is the only goalkeeper to score at the Africa Cup of Nations finals. He netted a penalty in a 1-1 pool stage draw with Nigeria in 2013

L – LAURENT POKOU of the Ivory Coast holds the record for the most goals scored in a single Cup of Nations game – five against Ethiopia in 1970.

M – AYMAN MANSOUR made history with the fastest ever Cup of Nations goals after he scored inside 23 seconds for Egypt against Gabon in 1994. The Pharaohs won 4-0.

N – Former DR Congo forward NDAYE MULAMBA holds the record for the most goals in a single Cup of Nations finals tournament when he netted nine in 1974 to lead his side to the title.

O – Brazilian OTO GLORIA coached Nigeria to the 1980 Cup of Nations title on home soil with a 3-0 win over Algeria in the final. He remains the only South American coach to lift the trophy.

P – The PHARAOHS of Egypt have won the most Cup of Nations titles with seven and are the most successful team in the competition. Cameroon are second on the list with five wins.

Q – Ten nations have yet to QUALIFY for the Cup of Nations finals – Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Lesotho, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Somalia and South Sudan.

R – HERVE RENARD was coach of Zambia when they completed arguably the biggest shock in Cup of Nations history by beating Ivory Coast on penalties in the 2012 final. Frenchman Renard then went on to coach the Ivorians to the title in 2015!

S – Hosts SOUTH AFRICA against debutants Cape Verde in 2013 was the first ever opening match of the Cup of Nations to end with goalless draw since the inaugural tournament in 1957.

T – TUNISIA is the country with the most consecutive appearances at the Cup of Nations finals with 16 from 1994 to the current tournament.

U – UGANDA are one of five countries to reach the Cup of Nations finals but who have never lifted the trophy. The others are Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Libya.

V – Veteran Cameroon forward VINCENT ABOUBAKAR was the top scorer at the last Cup of Nations finals on home soil with eight goals in 2021. He also lifted the trophy with the Indomitable Lions in 2017 and will look for a repeat this year.

W – Egypt are the side with the most match WINS at the Cup of Nations. They have claimed victory in 60 of their 107 games to go with 20 draws and 27 losses. They have also scored the most goals with 168.

X – THAPELO XOKI is a back-up central defender for Bafana Bafana and could well come into the squad if Mothobi Mvala is not fit enough for Hugo Broos’s team. Mvala would be a huge loss.

Y – The late RASHIDI YEKINI is the most prolific scorer for Nigeria’s Super Eagles at the Cup of Nations. He netted 13 times in 20 matches played between 1988 and 1994.

Z – ZAIRE (now DR Congo) became the first defending champions to go out in the group stages of their title defence in 1970 (though then they were Congo-Kinshasa). It has in fact happened on 13 occasions, including last time out when champions Algeria had an early exit. There was a horror run between 1970 and 1992 when the champions went out in the pool stages in 10 out of 12 tournaments!

Source: Supersport

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