Africa Cup of Nations explainer: What is it, how does it work, who’s won it and more

Francois Albert Amichia, the president of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations Organizing Committee (CCAN) speaks during a press conference at the Palais de la Culture in Abidjan on January 10, 2024.

The Africa Cup of Nations takes place in the Ivory Coast in January and February 2024, as superstars are on show in what is set to be the best-ever edition of the tournament.

From Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Victor Osimhen, Riyad Mahrez and Achraf Hakimi ripping it up and a solid group of six teams who are all very evenly matched as favorites, this tournament always throws up plenty of surprises and stars of the future too.

The competition to crown the African champs will be epic and in 2021 Senegal beat Egypt on penalty kicks to win AFCON for the very first time.
Below is everything you need to know about AFCON.

How many teams go to Africa Cup of Nations? How does it work?
There are 24 teams who compete in AFCON with six groups of four teams in each group. The top two teams from each group make the last 16, with the bottom two teams eliminated at the group stage.

When and where is AFCON 2023?
Notice that the name of the tournament “AFCON 2023" as the initial plan was to play this competition in the Ivory Coast in June and July 2023 but it was moved due to concerns over the weather conditions. In June and July, the Ivory Coast has a very rainy season which would have impacted pitch conditions.

Why is AFCON played in January?
The main reason is due to weather conditions. In most of Africa the weather will be too hot during the summer months to have a tournament, while there are also rainy seasons which will impact the ability to host the tournament at this time of year.

Which country has the most AFCON titles?
The tournament started in 1957 and has expanded from just four teams to the current format of 24. It is played every two years.

Egypt has the most titles with seven (1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010), while Cameroon have five (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002, 2017), Ghana have four (1963, 1965, 1978, 1982), Nigeria have won three titles (1980, 1994, 2013), hosts Ivory Coast have won it twice (1992, 2015). Algeria (1990 and 2019) and DR Congo (1968 and 1974) round out the nations who have won multiple titles, with reigning champs Senegal (2021), Zambia (2012), Tunisia (2004), Sudan (1970), Ethiopia (1962), Morocco (1976), South Africa (1996) and Congo (1972) all winning the title once in their history.

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