Africa Cup of Nations: Ranking the Best AFCON Kits of All Time

Africa Cup of Nations: Ranking the Best AFCON Kits of All Time

Isaac Darko
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
  • The Africa Cup of Nations has been the catalyst for numerous fashion moments
  • Starting next week, 24 teams from the continent will be in Ivory Coast for the tourney
  • Sports Brief showcases some of the most iconic jerseys in the history of the AFCON

As football tournaments draw near, there's a subset of fans who exhibit just as much excitement for their team's attire as they do for the starting lineup.

Over its three-decade history as the continent's premier event, the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) has given rise to countless memorable fashion moments.

Best AFCON kits of all time, Nelson Mandela, Samuel Eto'o
Sports Brief showcases some of the most iconic jerseys in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations. Photo by Philip Littleton/ @brfootball (Twitter) / @footyheadlines (Twitter)
Source: Getty Images

As Africa's biggest football showpiece is poised to kick off in the upcoming next weekend, Sports Brief is here to present some of the most iconic jerseys in AFCON history.

Best AFCON jerseys in history

South Africa 1996 (home)

In 1996, South Africa marked its debut appearance as the host nation in the Africa Cup of Nations.

This momentous event carried additional significance, given the country's exclusion during the apartheid era. The home kit worn by the South African team during this historic tournament has been vividly described by some as one of the best, capturing the essence of its unique and attention-grabbing design.

The country's former president, Nelson Mandela, donned the team's shirt while witnessing Bafana Bafana clinch the trophy, mirroring a gesture he had made a year earlier when he wore a Springboks jersey during the Rugby World Cup final.

Cameroon 2002 (Home)

In 2002, Cameroon and Puma collaborated on the release of a sleeveless shirt, debuting it at the Africa Cup of Nations in Mali, per ESPN.

However, FIFA intervened, disapproving of the basketball-style jerseys and subsequently banning them.

Undeterred, just two years later, Cameroon once again made waves by unveiling a unique onesie kit for the AFCON in Tunisia.

This innovative design featured a shirt and shorts seamlessly stitched together, creating a singular garment that stood out in the world of football attire.

Zambia 2012 (home)

In 2012, Zambia sent shockwaves through the African and global football community by defying expectations and clinching the trophy.

Guided by French coach Herve Renard, the Chipolopolo achieved remarkable victories against Senegal and Ghana.

Their crowning moment came in the final, where they pulled off an upset against Ivory Coast, emerging victorious in a penalty shootout. Renard's strategic prowess played a crucial role in Zambia's unexpected triumph on the grand stage of the Africa Cup of Nations.

“This is a nice shirt in its own right, but it is elevated by the fact Zambia won AFCON, which remains one of the great footballing underdog stories, "Josh Warwick, the co-founder of the Cult Kits said via Yahoo.

Nigeria 2019 (home)

Renowned for their vibrant colours and distinctive patterns, Nigeria's football kits frequently experience a surge in demand upon release.

The unveiling of their design for the 2018 World Cup triggered extensive queues outside stores and nearly broke the internet, with an astounding three million people pre-ordering the replica jerseys.

Carrying the momentum forward, the West Africans sported the same iconic design at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. During this tournament, striker Odion Ighalo showcased his prowess by finishing as the top scorer with five goals, contributing significantly to Nigeria's third-place finish.

Mali 2021 (home)

Mali, another West African nation in our lineup, draws inspiration for their football kits from the green, gold, and red hues of their national flag.

Recognised as an African giant in football, Mali has consistently showcased some of the most vibrant kits at the Africa Cup of Nations for years. Several of these kits prominently display an eagle, serving as a representation of the national symbol.

Best jerseys at AFCON 2023

Earlier, Sports Brief reported on the top five best jerseys at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

African teams are always known for their flare and eye-catching colours, and the 2023 Cup of Nations will once again put on show the high diversity of the colours of teams with their jerseys.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)