The delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finally gets underway next Sunday in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde as the home nation face Burkina Faso with the ‘Indomitable Lions’ anxious to secure a sixth AFCON triumph in front of their home fans.
Despite Cameroon’s impressive five wins in the continent’s premium tournament, it’s Egypt who lead the way when it comes to Africa Cup of Nations glory with the ‘Pharaohs’ having lifted the trophy a record seven times.
1957 and 1959 glory
The inaugural AFCON was a four team affair with just South Africa, Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt participating. South Africa insisted on fielding white players only and were duly banned, which left the North African side to overcome Sudan in the semi-final and see off Ethiopia to secure the title. Two years later, the ‘Pharaohs’ (going under the name of the United Arab Republic) overcame the Sudanese to retain their title.
Wins over Cameroon in the 1986 final (on penalty kicks) held in Cairo saw Egypt secure title number three with the fourth glory coming 12 years later in Burkina Faso, where a 2-0 win over South Africa was enough to secure African glory.
21st century hat-trick under Hassan Shehata
With Cameroon winning back-to-back AFCON titles in 2000 and 2002, Egypt went one step further and made history by becoming the first ever country to win a hat-trick of consecutive Africa Cup of Nations titles with victories in 2006, 2008 and 2010. Hassan Shehata, the man who oversaw these triumphs, has currently retired from the coaching game, but will be forever regarded as the greatest manager in Egyptian international football.
Egypt at AFCON 21
Egypt are one of the pre-tournament favorites in Cameroon despite Carlos Queiroz’s men being placed in a tough group alongside Nigeria’s Super Eagles, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau. Egypt fans will look to Mo Salah with much expectation on the Liverpool forward’s shoulders as the Egyptians look to make up for the disappointment of an early exit when they hosted the last Cup of Nations in 2019.