A Trip Back in Time: How Did the Afcon Cup Start?
Long been known as “the beautiful game,” football’s popularity is universal, with people from all nations and races loving the sport. Africa too has its fair share of football fanatics. The sport has been extremely popular in the African continents as players from various countries have mesmerized fans with their unique talents for many decades.
One of the most iconic football competitions in Africa is the Africa Cup of Nations, also known as the Afcon Cup. The tournament features national teams from several African countries and is one of the most anticipated sports competitions in the continent.
How It Began
During the third FIFA Congress in Lisbon in 1956, the proposal to hold a continental African tournament first came into existence. This led to the creation of the Confederation of African Football. The next year in 1957, the first edition of the Afcon was held in Khartoum, Sudan.
The Initial Stages
The initial line-up consisted of four teams, which was later reduced to three as South Africa pulled out. The rest of the teams included Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. There were no qualifying rounds as the field was reduced to just three teams.
Ethiopia was given a bye and qualified straight to the final. The other final place was decided between the hosts, Sudan and Egypt. The latter won and advanced to the final, where it defeated Ethiopia to lift the inaugural Afcon Cup trophy, which was then called the Abdel Aziz Abdallah Salem Trophy, named after its donor, the first CAF president.
And thus began a long tradition that has become an integral part of Africa’s rich culture. Over the years, Afcon fixtures have served as an exhibit for talent from all over the continent.