The African Football Cup began in June 1956. It was when the African Football Federation (CAF) proposed the idea of establishing the tournament at the Third FIFA Congress in Lisbon. After that, the plans to hold the tournament in succession were carried out.
The first time being held
In February 1957, the African Football Cup was first held in Khartoum, Suda. It was the competition of four countries establishing CAF including Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Africa with low professional quality.
The South African team was adamant about choosing only white players to join the roster because of racist policy and was disqualified from attending the tournament. Therefore, Ethiopia advance to the finals without having to play.
Only two matches were played at the first African Football Cup. Egypt became the first champion after defeating host nation Sudan in the semi-finals and Ethiopia in the final. Two years later, Egypt hosted the second tournament in Cairo with the participation of these 3 teams. Once again, Egypt successfully defended the championship after defeating Sudan in the final.
The third time being held
The third African Cup of football took place in 1962 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, witnessing the competition of 9 teams. This is the first time the tournament has to qualify for four teams to compete for the championship. Egypt played for the third time in a row in the final. However, Ethiopia was the team that won the championship at the third African Football Cup.
The number of teams participating in the African Football Cup reached 16 in 1998. Since then, the format of competition is maintained with 16 teams divided into four groups. The top two teams will advance to the knockout round.
From the third tournament in 1962 to the 28th tournament in 2012, the African Cup took place in even years. Starting in 2013, the tournament was held in odd years to avoid being coincident with the World Cup.
Egypt is the most successful country in the history of the African Football Cup with 7 championships (1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010) and three times ranked third (1963, 1970, 1974). However, past successes have not been able to make Egypt present at the Africa Cup of Africa 2013 and 2015. The period of African football dominance of Egypt seems to be in the past.