Prof. Wallace writes: History favours Group A or C team to win AFCON
A research into Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Winners and their groups revealed that for the past 11 editions since 1998, majority of the winners have either emerged from groups A or C.
The AFCON tournament started in 1957 but in 1998 16 teams participated in the tournament for the first time. They placed in four groups each made up of four countries. The 32nd edition taking place currently Egypt however, has seen the participating countries expanded from 16 to 24 teams split into six groups each comprising four countries.
There has been this assertion that star players don’t win the Africa Cup of Nations but whether this is true or not, we will find out from this piece.
1998 AFCON, 21st edition
The winner of the AFCON in 1998 was Egypt from group D. It was their 4th title. The tournament was hosted by Burkina Faso. Hossam Hassan of Egypt was very instrumental in that tournament providing seven goals for his country.
Hossam Hussein Hassan before the 1998 AFCON, was playing for Al Ahly. That season (1998-99) he guided his team to win the Egyptian premiership and the Arab Super Cup.
He is Egypt’s all-time highest goalscorer with 69 goals.
2000 AFCON, 22nd edition
The winner of the AFCON was Cameroon from group A. This was their 3rd title. The tournament was co-hosted by Ghana and Nigeria. Samuel Eto'o and Patrick Mboma were very instrumental in the tournament for the country by scoring four goals each.
2002 AFCON, 23rd edition
The winner of the AFCON again was Cameroon but this time the team was in group C. This was their 4th title. The tournament was hosted by Mali. Patrick Mboma contributed three goals in the lead up to the triumph.
Patrick Mboma in 2000-2001 scored five goals in 24 games before the Africa Cup of Nations.
2004 AFCON, 24th edition
The winner of the AFCON was Tunisia from group A. It was their first & only AFCON title. Tunisia hosted and won it. Francileudo Santos of Tunisia was their best player in the lead up to the trophy.
Francileudo was the arrowhead for Sochaux where he spent five years and scored 53 times.
2006 AFCON, 25th edition
The winner of the AFCON was Egypt from group A. It was their 5th title. The tournament was hosted and won by Egypt. Ahmed Hassan of Egypt contributed four goals in the tournament.
Ahmed Hassan in 2006 was one of the key players at R.S.C. Anderlecht. He was part of the team that won the 2005-06 and 2006-07 Belgian league. He also won the Belgian Supercup in 2006 and 2007.
2008 AFCON, 26th edition
The winner of the AFCON was Egypt from group C. It was their 6th title in their history. The tournament was hosted by Ghana. Players like Hosny Abd Rabo, Mohammed Aboutrika and Amr Zaki all of Egypt were fantastic for their country in that tournament.
Aboutrika was Al Ahly’s talisman during the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations. Amr Zaki, was on loan at Wigan Athletic; he scored 10 goals in 29 matches that season. Hosny Abd Rabo played as a midfielder at Al Ahli Dubai.
2010 AFCON, 27th edition
The winner of the AFCON was Egypt from group C. It was their 7th title and the most successful country in AFCON history. The tournament was hosted in Angola. Gedo scored five goals and Ahmed Hassan also scored three goals for the Egyptians. Both players won the Egyptian premier league that year for Al Ahly.
2012 AFCON, 28th edition
The winner of the AFCON was Zambia from group A. It was their 1st title in the AFCON. The tournament was co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Players like Christopher Katongo and Emmanuel Mayuka provided three goals each. Mayuka then was playing for Southampton while Katongo played for Henan Construction.
2013 AFCON, 29th edition
The AFCON tournament event switched from being hosted in even years to odd years, that is how come we saw the AFCON tournament being hosted twice in 2 years.
The winner of the AFCON was Nigeria from group C. It was their 3rd AFCON title. The tournament was hosted by South Africa. Emmanuel Emenike of Nigeria scored four goals to help his country win the tournament. Emenike guided Fenerbahce to the 2012-13 Turkish Super League.
2015 AFCON, 30th edition
The winner of the tournament was Ivory Coast from group D. It was their 2nd title. The tournament was hosted in Equatorial Guinea.
2017 AFCON, 31st edition
The winner of the AFCON was Cameroon from group A. It was their 5th title and the second most successful country behind Egypt. The tournament was hosted by Gabon. Christian Bassogog was one of the best players for Cameroon. Bassogog played in the Chinese Super League but was superb during the competition.
Review of literature posited that out of the previous 11 editions of the AFCON which 16 teams participating, nine winners have come from either group A or C.
Only two countries won it from Group D.
No team from group B has won the tournament since 16 teams were introduced in 1998.
From 1998, almost all the countries that have won the Cup of Nations had star(s) in their set up.
Is the ‘Group A or C trend’ going to continue in this year’s tournament or are we going to see a team winning from the two other groups -that is groups E or F?