The African cup of nations (AFCON) is a biennial international men’s football association competition in Africa, organized by the confederation of African football. It is also called the Total African Cup Of Nations and Coupe d’Afrique des Nations (CAN) in French. It was first held in khartoum, Sudan in 1957 and has been held every 2 years since 1968. Egypt is the most successful nation in the competition, winning it a record 7 times while Cameroon is the defending champion.
AFCON 2019 is currently being held in Egypt, with 24 teams competing for the first time since its inception. It kicked off on the 21st of June 2017 and will be rounded up on the 19th of July 2019. The AFCON 2019 was initially scheduled to be hosted by Cameroon but had their hosting withdrawn due to late deliveries in infrastructure, the Anglophone crisis and the Boko Haram crisis.
With the teams in the AFCON 2019 being increased from 16 to 24 teams, six venues are being used to host the competition. The six venues are Cairo international stadium, Al salam stadium and 30 June stadium all in Cairo, Alexandria stadium in Alexandria, Suez stadium in Suez and Ismailia stadium in Ismailia.
The Moroccan and Chadian National teams were banned by the confederation of African football (CAF) from the AFCON 2019. Morocco was banned for withdrawing from being host of the 2015 edition while Chad was banned for withdrawing during the 2017 AFCON qualifiers. The Moroccan team is currently present in the 2019 AFCON because their ban was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for sports.
The champions of the AFCON 2019 will be leaving with US$4.5 million, runners up US$2.5 million, semifinalists, US$2.0 million, Quarter-finalists US$ 1.0 million as prize money.
The current golden plated trophy which will be handed to the winner of the AFCON 2019 was designed and made in Italy in 2001.Cameroon which are the current holders were the first to lift this trophy after winning the competition in 2002. This golden plated trophy is the third trophy been awarded to the winners of this competition since its inception. The first trophy was the silver plated, also called the Abdelaziz Abballah Salem trophy, named after the first CAF President. The second was called the trophy of African unity or African unity cup. It was cylindrical in shape with Olympic rings over a map of Africa engraved on it; it sat on a squared bass and had fancy triangular handles. The second trophy was awarded from the year 1980 to 2000.
Thus far the 2019 AFCON has been as success and colorful experience with so many goals, emotions and thrilling theatrics from top class African stars of the likes of Saidio Mane and Mo Salah of Liverpool, Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester city, Riyad Marhez of Manchester City, Thomas Partey of Athletico Madrid and a host of others, and still a lot more adventure to look forward to.