Africa Cup of Nations Betting Offers 2021
The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations is the 33rd tournament and will be hosted by Cameroon from the 9th January to the 6th February. It was due to be the second AFCON to be held in June/July following the decision by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to move the tournament following the 2017 event that was traditionally held in January/February. Cameroon have however moved back to the winter slot due to unfavourable weather in the summer months.
The 2019 AFCON was originally supposed to be held in Cameroon, but was later awarded to Egypt delays in infrastructure delivery and political developments. Cameroon has instead been selected to host in 2021.
The new dates are not ideal for all involved as clubs will now lose African players for over a month at a critical time of the season. However, with the Euros also being moved to the summer of 2021 it is hoped by moving back to the winter AFCON can get the attention it deserves, and it is no coincidence that at the same time since 2019 it has expanded from 16 to 24 teams. The bigger spectacle also means bookies and punters will be more interested in AFCON and that means better odds and offers – the best of which, of course, you can find right here. More details about the event format and history can be found further on.
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African Cup of Nations 2021
|Group Match 1||9th – 13th January||12|
|Group Match 2||14th – 17th January||12|
|Group Match 3||18th – 20th June||12|
|Round of 16||23rd – 26th January||8|
|Quarter-Finals||30th – 31st January||4|
|3rd Place Play-Off||4th February||1|
Sanctioned by the Confederation of African Football and enjoying its debut in 1957, the Africa Cup of Nations is officially known as the Coupe d’Afrique des Nations. It is the premier football tournament specifically aimed at the football teams of countries that come under the jurisdiction of the CAF. The competition is held every two year, with hosting duties moved around the various participating countries.
The tournament has grown exponentially since its first outing, at which only Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia participated. It had been intended for South Africa to take part but the country’s apartheid policy meant that they were disqualified. It has now grown to such an extent that a qualification tournament is needed in order reduce the number of participating teams to 24.
The Africa Cup of Nations is held in odd years and has been since 2013, with the aim being to avoid it clashing with the World Cup.
The format of the AFCON tournament has changed numerous times over the years, not least of which according to the number of teams that take part in it. It was expanded to welcome 16 teams in 1998 and then shifted again to 24 teams in 2017. It was also originally an annual competition but switched to being held every 2 years in 1968.
Back when the competition was a 16-team format it would involved the teams being split into four groups of four, with the teams playing each other in a round-robin setup before the top two sides in each group advanced to the knockout stages.
The shift to a 24-team format in 2017 saw a change to how qualification worked. Let’s look at the process for the 2019 iteration of the tournament for an idea of how the number of participants are whittled down to the required amount.
51 teams put themselves forward to enter the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019, one of which was Cameroon, the country that was supposed to host the tournament but were stripped of the right to do so. The teams were then seeded according to their performances in the previous three AFCON tournaments, qualifying campaigns and the same stages of the 2014 World Cup.
Teams that came in at ranks 1 to 45 were automatically entered into the group stage of the qualifying tournament, whilst the other six had to play a preliminary round. The 48 teams were put into Pots, then drawn out into 12 different groups. The teams played each other in round-robin head-to-head games, with the top 2 sides in each group qualifying for the tournament proper.
The Tournament Proper
The presence of 24 teams in the tournament itself since 2017 means that the format has had to change slightly to accommodate them. The current way that it works involves those 24 teams being split into six groups with four teams in each. Each of the 24 teams is assigned to a Pot according to their FIFA World Ranking, with a team from each Pot entering each group drawn at random.
The teams then play each other once according to a round-robin format of matches, being awarded 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss. At the end of the Group Stage the teams are ranked according to the following criteria:
- Points won
- Goal difference in head-to-head matches
- Goals scored in head-to-head matches
- Goal difference in all group matches
- Goals scored in all group matches
If teams can still not be separated and ranked in the group after looking at all of the above criteria then they are separated according to the drawing of lots.
At the end of the Group Stage the top two teams in each group as well as the four sides that were the best 3rd-place teams advance to the knockout phase, starting with the Last 16 matches. The winners advance to the Quarter-Finals, then the Semi-Finals and eventually the Final.
In all rounds of the knockout phase of the tournament both extra-time and penalties can be used to separate the teams if they are level at the end of 90 minutes. The only match that that isn’t the case for is the 3rd-place play-off between the losing teams of the Semi-Final, who immediately go to a penalty shootout at the end of 90 minutes instead of playing extra-time.
Egypt 2021 AFCON Stadiums
|*Paul Biya Stadium||Yaounde||60,000||2019|
|Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo||Yaounde||42,500||1972|
|Roumdé Adjia Stadium||Garoua||30,000||1978|
* Stadium to be used for AFCON final
The tournament hosts usually qualify for the Group Stages of the competition proper automatically, though that didn’t happen in 2019 because of Cameroon being stripped of the right to host. That was because they failed to meet certain criteria laid out by the CAF Executive Committee and hosting duties were eventually handed to Egypt.
Ivory Coast were due to host the 2021 AFCON but this has now been been postponed to 2023 and Cameroon have been allowed to now host in 2021. Guinea who were due to host in 2023 will now host in 2025.
Usually what happens is that countries inform the Confederation of African Football that they’re interested in hosting the competition, with a shortlist then being drawn up. At that point, the CAF accepts more formal bids from the teams on the shortlist and considered which ones are best placed to host the tournament.
This decision is based on things such as football grounds of a suitable nature being available, the infrastructure and the ability of teams to travel to the various locations. Usually around six stadiums are required for a bit to be considered. Once the bids have been entered an inspection team working on behalf of the CAF goes into the various countries before the CAF Executive Committee makes its final decision.
Hosts & Results (Since 2000)
|2025||Guinea||? v ?||?|
|2023||Ivory Coast||? v ?||?|
|2021||Cameroon||? v ?||?|
|2019||Egypt||Algeria v Senegal||1-0|
|2017||Gabon||Cameroon v Egypt||2-1|
|2015||Equatorial Guinea||Ivory Coast v Ghana||0-0 (9-8 pens)|
|2013||South Africa||Nigeria v Burkina Faso||1-0|
|2012||Equatorial Guinea & Gabon||Zambia v Ivory Coast||0-0 (8-7 pens)|
|2010||Angola||Egypt v Ghana||1-0|
|2008||Ghana||Egypt v Cameroon||1-0|
|2006||Egypt||Egypt v Ivory Coast||0-0 (4-2 pens)|
|2004||Tunisia||Tunisia v Morocco||2-1|
|2002||Mali||Cameroon v Senegal||0-0 (3-2 pens)|
|2000||Ghana & Nigeria||Cameroon v Nigeria||2-2 (4-3 pens)|
The History Of The Africa Cup Of Nations
The history of the Africa Cup of Nations is a long and complex one, as you’d expect from a continent that has a long and complex history of its own to be dealing with. The original idea for the tournament dates back to 1956, which was when the formation of a Confederation of African Football was first proposed at the FIFA congress. As soon as it was given approval the idea for a competition between the nations that were part of the continent began to be mooted.
The first iteration of the new tournament was hosted by Sudan and saw just three times participate, with Egypt winning the final against Ethiopia. Egypt won again two years later when the same three teams took part, this time defeating Sudan in the final match.
By the time the third Africa Cup of Nations took place in 1962 nine different teams wanted to take part, meaning that a qualification round was needed to decide upon the four teams that would make the final. It was a third consecutive final for Egypt, though they lost out to the Ethiopian hosts.
The Tournament Expands
As you might expect, the popularity of the tournament grew year-on-year so that by 1968 it saw 8 of the 22 teams that had entered the preliminary rounds make it to the tournament proper. They were split up into two groups of 4, with the top two teams making it through to the knockout rounds. The Democratic Republic of Congo won their first title, joining Egypt, Ethiopia and Ghana, who had won the two previous tournaments, on the winners podium.
The 8-team final format remained in place until the 1992 version of the event. In the intervening years, the number of teams that were crowned champions grew. Between 1970 and 1980, for example, six different national sides won the tournament, including Sudan, Morocco, Ghana and Nigeria. One of those titles came in 1974 when Zaire took on Zambia and the final had to be replayed for the only time in the competition’s history. That’s because the penalty shoot-out hadn’t been introduced at that stage and the game finished 2-2 after extra-time.
Two Team Dominate The 1980s Before South Africa’s Return
In the 1980s the Africa Cup of Nations was dominated by Cameroon and Nigeria, with the two teams winning it three times between them and at least one of the national sides appearing in all but one of the five finals. Nigeria beat Algeria in 1980, lost to Cameroon in 1984 and then again in 1988, sandwiched by a penalty loss to Egypt in 1986. They were matched only by Algeria in terms of making it to the Semi-Final stage, with the Algerians making it to the Final in 1980, finishing 4th in 1982, 3rd in 1984 and again in 1988 before finally winning the competition in 1990, when they were also hosts.
The 1990s finally saw South Africa brought back into the fold, coming on the back of country’s decision to end the apartheid government there. It was also the decade that saw the tournament be expanding from 8 teams to 12, adding an extra group at the early stage of the competition.
The South Africans attempted to qualify in 1994 but failed. In the end they won the hosting rights in 1996, seeing them qualify for the tournament proper automatically. It was their first appearance in the competition and they won it, beating Tunisia in the final. 1996 was also the year that the tournament was expanded to include 16 teams in the group stages.
Egypt Begin To Rule The Roost
Egypt’s victory in the first two outings of the Africa Cup of Nations had not been followed up with victory once the tournament began to expend to include more teams, suggesting, perhaps, that they were less valid that the wins by teams that came when the tournament was more competitive.
Indeed, after defending their title in 1959 the Egyptians failed to win the AFCON again until 1986. There was then another long break until their next final appearance which came 12 years later when Burkina Faso hosted and Egypt beat South Africa 2-0 in the Bafana Bafana’s second final in two successive tournaments.
The team from the land of pyramids and the Sphinx didn’t need much encouragement to make up for their absence from the final over the years, however, and in the 2000s they did something that hitherto had been unprecedented. They made the final again in 2006, beating the Ivory Coast 4-2 on penalties, then returned to the final 2 years later when they defeated Cameroon 1-0.
The tournament had been defended in the past, of course, not least of all by Egypt themselves, so it was what happened in 2010 that made it an unprecedented period of success. The Egyptians made the final once more, this team beating Ghana 1-0 to win a hat-trick of African Cup of Nations in succession.
The 2015 iteration of the AFCON tournament was beset by problems because of the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the region, with proposed hosts Morocco refusing to host the event. In the end it was moved to Equatorial Guinea instead, where the Ivory Coast beat Ghana 9-8 in a dramatic penalty shootout. The problems that beset the 2015 iteration of the event didn’t put off the CAF Executive Committee from making some major changes, however.
In the wake of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations the President of the Confederation of African Football, Ahmad Ahmad, made two proposals: To expand the tournament to welcome 24 teams and to move it from the winter months into the summer. Both proposals passed the CAF Executive Committee and the new format would be put in place for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, which was to be hosted by Cameroon but eventually ended up taking place in Egypt.
Prize Money And Trophies
The amount of prize money given to the winner of the AFCON tournament has gone up year-on-year, but in 2019 the winners received the equivalent of $4.5 million.
Just as the prize money has changed over the years, so too has the trophy on offer. The first was made of silver and bore the moniker of the Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem Trophy in honour of the CAF’s first President. When they won the tournament for the third time in 1978, Ghana earned the right to keep the trophy permanently.
The replacement trophy came into being for the 1980 AFCON tournament and was called the Trophy of African Unity, sometimes referred to as the African Unity Cup. The Supreme Council for Sports in Africa gave the trophy to the CAF and it was a cylindrical piece that bore the Olympic Rings on top of a map of the African continent. When Cameroon became three-time champions in 2000, they also got to keep the trophy permanently.
The need for a new trophy for the 2001 version of the Africa Cup of Nations led to a gold-plated trophy that had been designed and made in Italy. Under the previous rules, Egypt would have been given the trophy for keeps when they won the AFCON tournament three times in succession in 2006, 2008 and 2010. Instead they were presented with a full-size replica that they were able to add to their trophy cabinet. This differed from the replica normally given to winners as that is much smaller.
Stats and Facts
The Africa Cup of Nations is a fascinating tournament with a host of interesting facts attached to it. Obviously some of these are difficult to talk about in too much detail because they can change quite quickly, but here’s a look at some of the key ones:
- Egypt have won the tournament more often than any other nation, 7 times, they have also hosted the most, 5 times.
- The Tunisian team withdrew from the 3rd-place play-off match in 1978 when the score was 1-1, complaining about the officiating. The match ended up being awarded to Nigeria with a 2-0 scoreline.
- In 2010 the Togolese team withdrew from the final after their team bus was attached by gunmen.
- The most goals to date were scored during the 2019 tournament when the ball hit the back of the net 102 times, the least was in 1957 with just 7 goals (although there were only two matches).
- The highest goals per game was in 1962, with 4.50 (18 goals in 4 games), the lowest as in 1988 with 1.44 (23 goals in 16 games).
- The AFCON all-time top goalscorer is Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o, with 18, top goalscorer in a single tournament is Zaire’s Ndaye Mulamba in 1974 with 9.
- North Africa boasts more champions than any other region, 11 titles.
- There are 12 nations yet to qualify for AFCON: Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Gambia, Lesotho, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Somalia and South Sudan.