African Cup of Nations winners: A comprehensive list of all past champions to date

African Cup of Nations winners: A comprehensive list of all past champions to date

Helix Odhiambo
updated at March 11, 2024 at 7:12 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
CAF AFCON
Africa
Egypt logo
Egypt
Egypt
30
Cameroon logo
Cameroon
Cameroon
27
Samuel Eto'o logo
S. Eto'o
-FCameroon logo
Morocco logo
Morocco
Morocco
29
Mohamed Salah logo
M. Salah
Liverpool logoFEgypt logo

The Africa Cup of Nations is one of the most competitive football events, featuring African countries battling for glory. The tournament, organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), began in 1957 and takes place every two years. Discover who the continent's giants are from the list of African Cup of Nations winners here.

African Cup of Nations winners
Senegal players celebrate with the AFCON trophy after beating Egypt in the final at the Paul Biya 'Olembe' Stadium on 6 February 2022 in Yaounde, Cameroon. Photo: Ayman Aref
Source: Getty Images

AFCON began as a small competition featuring only three teams in its inaugural edition. Since then, it has grown to now 24 participating counties. With the cameras trained on the 34th edition, which runs from January to February 2024, we break down all African Cup of Nations winners by year and reveal who has the most titles.

African Cup of Nations winners

The first AFCON tournament was played in 1957 and has since happened 33 times up to 2022. The competition has featured legendary names and teams that have propelled African football to greater heights.

Initially, CAF organised the competition at random intervals but later made it a biennial event in 1968 to date. The federation also switched the tournament to odd years in 2013 to prevent clashes with the FIFA World Cup in even years.

Which was the first country to win the African Cup of Nations?

Who has the most African Cup of Nations winners?
Egyptians celebrate winning the Africa Cup of Nations after defeating Ghana in the final at Universitaria Stadium on 31 January 2010 in Luanda, Angola. Photo: Lefty Shivambu
Source: Getty Images

Egypt won the inaugural edition of the competition in 1957, which featured three teams, including Ethiopia and Sudan. The Egyptians beat Ethiopia 4-0 in the historic final, setting the pace for one of the most entertaining international football events.

Has Morocco ever won the African Cup?

The Atlas Lions stunned the world with their performance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but how have they performed continentally? Morocco has only won one AFCON title. Their triumph came in 1976 after a 1-1 draw with Guinea in the last group game that decided the winner.

Morocco made history in Qatar by becoming the first African nation to reach the semi-final of the showpiece. They are one of the favourites to win the 2024 edition.

Who won the last AFCON?

Senegal won the 2021 AFCON title after beating Egypt in the final. The Teranga Lions, led by Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly, dispatched Mohamed Salah's side on penalties following a 0-0 draw. It was Senegal's first and only AFCON title.

African Cup of Nations winners list by year

Top ten African Cup of Nations winners
The Indomitable Lions beat Senegal in penalties after a 0-0 draw to clinch the 2002 African Nations Cup in Bamako. Photo: Issouf Sanogo
Source: Getty Images

Since 1957, the list of AFCON winners has increased following the tournament's expansion to accommodate more countries. Fourteen different countries have lifted the championship as of 2021. Here is a list of all winners, including the years they won, runners-up, and the host nations.

Year

Winner

Runners up

Host nation

1957

Egypt

Ethiopia

Sudan

1959

Egypt

Sudan

Egypt

1962

Ethiopia

Egypt

Ethiopia

1963

Ghana

Sudan

Ghana

1965

Ghana

Tunisia

Tunisia

1968

DR Congo

Ghana

Ethiopia

1970

Sudan

Ghana

Sudan

1972

Congo

Mali

Cameroon

1974

DR Congo (Zaire)

Zambia

Egypt

1976

Morocco

Guinea

Ethiopia

1978

Ghana

Uganda

Ghana

1980

Nigeria

Algeria

Nigeria

1982

Ghana

Libya

Libya

1984

Cameroon

Nigeria

Ivory Coast

1986

Egypt

Cameroon

Egypt

1988

Cameroon

Nigeria

Morocco

1990

Algeria

Nigeria

Algeria

1992

Ivory Coast

Ghana

Senegal

1994

Nigeria

Zambia

Tunisia

1996

South Africa

Tunisia

South Africa

1998

Egypt

South Africa

Burkina Faso

2000

Cameroon

Nigeria

Ghana and Nigeria

2002

Cameroon

Senegal

Mali

2004

Tunisia

Morocco

Tunisia

2006

Egypt

Ivory Coast

Egypt

2008

Egypt

Cameroon

Ghana

2010

Egypt

Ghana

Angola

2012

Zambia

Ivory Coast

Equatorial Guinea and Gabon

2013

Nigeria

Burkina Faso

South Africa

2015

Ivory Coast

Ghana

Equatorial Guinea

2017

Cameroon

Egypt

Gabon

2019

Algeria

Senegal

Egypt

2021

Senegal

Egypt

Cameroon

Top ten African Cup of Nations winners

Who has the most African Cup of Nations winners' medal? Egypt has the highest number of African Cup of Nations winners' titles (7). Cameroon has won the tournament five times, while Ghana follows with four. Here is a breakdown of the top 10 AFCON champions, from the most successful to the least.

Country

Titles

Egypt

7

Cameroon

5

Ghana

4

Nigeria

3

Ivory Coast

2

Algeria

2

DR Congo

2

Senegal

1

Zambia

1

Tunisia

1

When is the 2023 African Cup of Nations?

Ivory Coast will host the 34th edition of the African showpiece, which kicks off from 13 January to 11 February 2024. The tournament will feature 24 teams split into six groups of four.

The top two teams in each group and the four best-ranked third-placed teams will advance to the last 16, followed by quarters, semis, third-place match, and the final.

Frequently asked questions

African Cup of Nations winners list by year
The African Cup of Nations trophy during the 2019 final between Algeria and Senegal at the Cairo International Stadium in Cairo, Egypt, on 19 July 2019. Photo: Ulrik Pedersen
Source: Getty Images

The biennial tournament has seen some of the best African footballers display brilliant performances and make history. Here are fascinating records and statistics in the tournament's history as of the 2021 edition.

Who was the first player to score in AFCON?

Egypt's Raafat Attia is the first person to score in the tournament. Raafat bagged the opener in Egypt's 2-1 semi-final win over Sudan in 1957.

Which team has the most appearances in the final?

Egypt and Ghana hold the record of reaching the most tournament finals (nine). Cameroon has played in seven, while Ivory Coast has appeared in four finals. The Pharaohs have also played the most games (107), followed by Ghana (102), Ivory Coast (99), and Nigeria (97).

Has anyone won the AFCON as a player and coach?

Which was the first country to win the African Cup of Nations?
Nigeria's Stephen Keshi (L) and Mahmoud El-Gohary of Egypt are the only people to win AFCON as players and coaches. Photo: Michael Steele, Liewig Christian (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Only two legends, Egypt's Mahmoud El-Gohary and Stephen Keshi of Nigeria, have won the tournament as a payer and coach. Mahmoud lifted the title as a player in 1959 and then as a coach in 1998, while Keshi first clinched it as a player in 1994 and then as a coach in 2013.

Has any coach won the tournament with two different countries?

French tactician Herve Renard is the only coach to lift the title with two nations. Renard won it with Zambia in 2012 before leading Ivory Coast to their second title in 2015.

Which players have scored in most editions?

Only four players have scored in six AFCON tournaments, the most in the competition's history. Samuel Eto'o, Asamoah Gyan, Andre Ayew, and Kalusha Bwalya are the only players with the record.

Who is the all-time top scorer?

Afcon winners
Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o celebrates scoring against Angola at the 2006 AFCON tournament. Eto'o is arguably Africa's best player of all time. Photo: Adam Davy
Source: Getty Images

Legendary Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o is the overall Cup of Nations scorer with 18 goals. Eto'o bagged his goals in six tournaments between 2000 and 2010.

Who scored the first hat trick?

Sixteen players have scored 17 hattricks since the tournament began in 1957. The first to do so was Egypt's Ad-Diba during their 4-0 triumph over Ethiopia in the 1957 final. Egypt's Hassan El-Shazly is the only player to have scored multiple hattricks at AFCON (1963 and 1970).

Who is the oldest player to play in the tournament?

Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary became the oldest player (44 years and 21 days) to play in the tournament. El Hadary set the record when he faced Cameroon in the 2017 final in Libreville, where they lost to the Indomitable Lions.

Which players have the most appearances?

Egypt's Ahmed Hassan and Cameroon's Rigobert Song hold the record for the most number of AFCON tournament appearances (eight). Ghana's Andre Ayew has played in seven editions and could match the duo at the 2024 event.

Final word

Seven-time African Cup of Nations winners Egypt are among the favourites to win the 34th edition of the competition in Ivory Coast. It would also be a dream come true for arguably the best African footballer in the Premier League, Mohamed Salah, who has yet to lift the trophy. Other top contenders are Morocco, Egypt, Senegal, and Nigeria.

READ MORE: Copa América winners list: Who has won the trophy the most times?

Sports Brief listed all Copa América winners, including their years of triumph and hosts. The competition began in 1916, making it the world's oldest continental football tournament. It features South American countries battling out for glory and prestige.

Copa América takes place once every two to three years. Teams from other regions sometimes receive invitations to participate in the competition. Follow the above link to discover more about the South American tournament.

Authors
Helix Odhiambo photo
Helix Odhiambo
Helix Odhiambo is an award-winning Kenyan journalist and content creator with over 6 years of experience. In 2016, he won the Goal Blaze Correspondent Award for young writers.