The African Cup of Nations (AFCON) is a prestigious continental competition contested by the member nations of the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF). The inaugural edition was played in 1957 between the three founding nations - Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.

Senegal secured their first title in history as they won a 4-2 penalty shootout against Egypt in the AFCON 2021 final. 

Egypt - the winners of the first edition - is the most successful team in AFCON history with seven triumphs. In 2010, the Egyptians became the first country to win a hat-trick of Africa Cup of Nations titles (2006, 2008, and 2010) having emerged victorious in three consecutive editions of the tournament.

Cameroon, are the second-most successful country having lifted the title five times. They enjoyed a lot of success in the early 2000s as the Indomitable Lions won back-to-back trophies in 2000 and 2002. Cameroon won their last AFCON title in 2017.

Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o is the top-scorer in the history of the competition with 18 goals and helped his country win successive editions of AFCON at the turn of the century.

Ghana won its first African Cup of Nations trophy in 1963 and went on to achieve success on another three occasions. Since they were the first team to win three AFCON titles, Ghana was given the permanent right to keep the original trophy - Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem Trophy in 1978.

Nigeria have tasted AFCON success thrice in 1980, 1994, and 2013. Ivory Coast - one of the most well-known African football nations and host of AFCON 2023 - triumphed first in 1992 and then in 2015 after beating Ghana 9–8 in a penalty shootout. They are the current holders of the AFCON after beating Nigeria 2-1 in the 2023 final.

Algeria ended their 29-year wait for an AFCON trophy with a 1-0 win over Senegal in the 2019 edition of the tournament. In 1990, the Desert Warriors hosted and won the AFCON. Their 1990 triumph aside, Algeria’s best result until the 2019 win was a fourth-place finish in 2010.

African Cup of Nations winners list: Know all the AFCON winners

Year Winner Runner-up
1957 Egypt Ethiopia
1959 United Arab Republic Sudan
1962 Ethiopia United Arab Republic
1963 Ghana Sudan
1965 Ghana Tunisia
1968 DR Congo Ghana
1970 Sudan Ghana
1972 PR Congo Mali
1974 Zaire Zambia
1976 Morocco Guinea
1978 Ghana Uganda
1980 Nigeria Algeria
1982 Ghana Libya
1984 Cameroon Nigeria
1986 Egypt Cameroon
1988 Cameroon Nigeria
1990 Algeria Nigeria
1992 Ivory Coast Ghana
1994 Nigeria Zambia
1996 South Africa Tunisia
1998 Egypt South Africa
2000 Cameroon Nigeria
2002 Cameroon Senegal
2004 Tunisia Morocco
2006 Egypt Ivory Coast
2008 Egypt Cameroon
2010 Egypt Ghana
2012 Zambia Ivory Coast
2013 Nigeria Burkina Faso
2015 Ivory Coast Ghana
2017 Cameroon Egypt
2019 Algeria Senegal
2021 Senegal Egypt
2023 Ivory Coast Nigeria

Most successful teams in African Cup of Nations: By each country

So far, there have been 15 winners of the AFCON trophy, with Egypt being the most successful with seven triumphs, followed by Cameroon and Ghana who have five and four African Cup of Nations titles respectively.

Country  No.of titles Winning Years
Egypt 1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010
Cameroon 1984, 1988, 2000, 2002, 2017
Ghana 1963, 1965, 1978, 1982
Nigeria 1980, 1994, 2013
Ivory Coast 3 1992, 2015, 2023
Algeria 1990, 2019
DR Congo 1968, 1974
Zambia 2012
Tunisia 2004
Sudan 1970
Senegal 2021
Ethiopia 1962
Morocco 1976
South Africa 1996
Congo 1972

Author: William Paul