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AFCON: Dates, history, teams, previous winners & much more

The Africa Cup of Nations, or AFCON as it is commonly known, is the premier men's international football competition in Africa.

Steeped in history, AFCON was first held in 1957 and the tournament has grown exponentially since then, with 24 teams competition in the latest edition of the historic competition in 2024.

The growth of African football as a whole over the last half a century means some of the world's best players can be seen competing at AFCON, with the likes of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto'o having lit up the tournament in recent years.


What is AFCON?

The Africa Cup Of Nations is an international men's football tournament which takes place every two years.

Only three teams - Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt - competed at the first finals in 1957, with the latter emerging triumphant, but these days as many as 52 nations attempt to qualify for the tournament, with 24 making it through to the finals.

AFCON format

AFCON was extended from a 16-team tournament to 24 ahead of the 2019 finals in Egypt and the format has remained unchanged since then, with the finalists being split into six groups of four.

The top two in each group automatically qualify for the knockout stages and they are joined by the four best third-placed sides, meaning only eight of the 24 teams go home after the groups.

From there, the tournament operates in a straight knockout format, similar to the World Cup and European Championships.

The eventual champions have to negotiate their way through a total of seven matches before they can lift the trophy.

AFCON dates

The next AFCON will be the 35th edition of the tournament and is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2025 to eliminate conflict with the European football calendar, with the qualification process set to get underway in March 2024.

AFCON venues

AFCON 2025 will be held in the Morocco after they won the second bidding process in September 2023 following the stripping of hosting rights from Guinea, who were deemed to have completed an inadequate amount of preparation.

This will be the second time the country has hosted the tournament, as they previously staged the finals in 1988.

They were supposed to host the 2015 edition, but withdrew due to fears stemming from the Ebola virus outbreak.

A total of six stadiums will be used throughout the tournament, including the 65,000 seater Ibn Batouta Stadium inn Tangier.

The five other venues are spread across other big Moroccan cities such as Fez, Casablanca and Marrakesh with teams likely to play at a multitude of arenas in 2025.

AFCON how to watch

Matches at the 2025 AFCON will be available to watch via bet365's Sports Live Streaming platform.

The 2023 tournament was shown on Sky Sports and BBC and, after a brilliant AFCON, a similar level of broadcast coverage should be expected for the 2025 edition.

AFCON number of tournaments

The 2025 finals will be the 35th edition of AFCON, with the first tournament having been staged in Sudan in 1957.

The tournament has primarily been held every two years, with the most recent edition taking place in 2024, although COVID and other factors such as weather conditions have caused some discrepancies in that schedule.

AFCON current champions

2023 hosts Ivory Coast used their home advantage to full effect to win the latest AFCON as they beat Nigeria 2-1 in the final to lift the trophy in February 2024.

Sensationally sacking their manager despite narrowly making it out of their group seemed to have the desired effect for the Elephants, who dramatically won the title with a plethora of late goals in their knockout games to earn their third AFCON championship.

AFCON most titles

Despite losing the 2021 final, Egypt are the most successful team in AFCON history, as they have lifted the trophy a record seven times, with the most recent of those successes coming in 2010.

Cameroon are next on the list with five titles, including their victory over Egypt in the 2017 final, while Ghana have four triumphs to their name and both Nigeria and Ivory Coast have three.

The only other nations to have been crowned AFCON champions more than once are Algeria and DR Congo, who have both lifted the trophy twice.

Any odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.

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