Abidjan: Cairo Post, News Desk
Africa Cup of Nations is about to get underway in Ivory Coast with African soccer about to gather its strongest national sides after qualification to see who will succeed. Senegal is defending champions after their 2021 success and AFCON rarely fails to deliver quality action and stories so this year promises to be no different. For almost a full month, African talent will be showcased for the wider soccer world to see and talents are inevitably uncovered as teams unexpectedly do well in a tournament which has had its fair share of surprise package winners in the past.
A number of top players will be participating, including Liverpool star Mohamed Salah’s Egypt and Saudi Mane of Al-Nassr’s defending champions Senegal. Morocco is fresh from their impressive FIFA 2022 World Cup heroics and boast the likes of Paris Saint-Germain’s Achraf Hakimi while Algeria can call upon captain and talisman Riyad Mahrez who is now playing for Al-Ahli in Saudi Arabia. Premier League clubs have been particularly affected with Cameroon calling up Manchester United’s Andre Onana, Brighton and Hove Albion’s Simon Adingra linking up with hosts Ivory Coast and Sengal picking Chelsea’s Nicolas Jackson as well as Everton’s Idrissa Gueye.
Although Senegal are the current titleholders, Egypt is the most titled AFCON nation with seven wins. That Senegalese success came at the expense of Salah’s Pharaohs and the Egyptians are the only African nation to have won three titles back-to-back from 2006-2010. Cameroon trail Egypt with five trophies while Ghana have four and Nigeria boast three. Hosts Ivory Coast are one of three teams with two titles alongside Algeria and DR Congo. Senegal’s current title was their first-ever while five beaten finalists have never won it and DR Congo (two) as well as Congo (one) have both won the finals that they have competed in but have never been runners-up.