Learn about the history of the African Cup of Nations (Part 1)

CAN’s birth situation dates back to June 1956 when the formation of the African Football Confederation (CAF) was proposed during the 3rd FIFA meeting in Lisbon, Portugal.

By early February 1957, CAF was officially born and the first tournament took place in Khartoum, Sudan with the participation of founding members Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, and South Africa. However, South Africa withdrew due to calling a white player during the apartheid regime.

CAN 1957 only had 2 matches, Egypt was the champion after beating host Sudan in the semi-finals and Ethiopia in the final. In the third CAN tournament in 1962, the tournament was held for the first time.

The legend of Abedi Pele

From the 1963 tournament, Ghana started its dominance cycle with 4 consecutive CAN finals from 1963 to 1970. During this period they won 2 CAN championships in 1963 and 1965. CAN 1970 in Sudan was the league. The first match was broadcast on television.

During the 1970s, CAN saw six different champions Sudan, Congo, Zaire, Morocco, Ghana, and Nigeria. Zaire won the championship in 1974 when he defeated Zambia in the final. This is also the only CAN period where a champion is determined by a replay. Ghana was the first team to win 3 CAN championships when taking the throne in the 1978 tournament.

Cameroon dominated and the return of South Africa (1980-2000)

In the 1980s and 1990s, Cameroon entered the CAN final three times in a row and won two in 1984 and 1988. championships Before Cameroon’s domination period, Ghana was crowned champion for the fourth time. In 1982, this was also the latest CAN championship title of “Black Stars”.

South Africa champions of CAN 1994

South Africa champions of CAN 1994

In CAN 1994, Zambia made a surprise when reaching the final with a patchwork squad after 18 members of the country died in a plane crash in 1993. In the CAN 1994 final, Zambia failed 1-2 against Nigeria despite being the team that scored first. Two years later, CAN expand the total number of teams to 16. However, the then-defending champion Nigeria withdrew due to political reasons and that tournament only had 15 teams participating.