Top ten facts about the Africa Cup of Nations

Hosts Egypt were handed a favourable draw for the 2019 Africa Cup on Nations finals on Friday, but continental powerhouses Morocco, Ivory Coast and South Africa were placed together in a tough group.

The 2019 African Cup of Nations draw was consucted on Friday, with hosts Egypt taking on Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe in Group A.

Pundits considered the Egypt draw a favorable one considering that the continent’s football giants like Morocco, Ivory Coast and South Africa were placed together in Group D.

The draw for the expanded 24-team tournament, that runs from June 21 to July 19, was staged against the spectacular backdrop of the Sphinx and Pyramids on the Giza Plateau in Cairo.

In this article, we list 10 facts about the Africa Cup of Nations, the continent’s most prestigious football tournament.

1 – Egypt will be hosts for a record fifth time. They previously staged the Cup of Nations in 1959, 1974, 1986 and 2006, winning three of those four tournaments and finishing third in the other.

2 – Only three countries, hosts Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia, took part in the first tournament in February 1957 and there was no qualifying competition.

3 – 2019 will be the first time the tournament features 24 teams, after CAF decided to expand the tournament in order to enhance competitiveness.

4 – The most successful country has been Egypt with seven titles followed by Cameroon (five), Ghana (four), Nigeria (three) and the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Ivory Coast (two each).

5 – Madagascar, Burundi and Mauritania will be making their debuts at the tournament in 2019. 12 teams are yet to qualify for Africa’s biggest football tournament, including Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Gambia, Lesotho, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Somalia and South Sudan.

6 – Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o is the leading overall Cup of Nations scorer, notching 18 goals in six tournaments between 2000 and 2010.

7 – Egypt goalkeeper Essam el Hadary became the oldest player at 44 years and 21 days to feature in the tournament when he faced Cameroon in the 2017 final in Libreville.

8 – Shiva N’zigou of Gabon is the youngest player to feature, and score at the tournament. He was 16 years old and 93 days when he played at AFCON in 2000, scoring in a 1-3 defeat against South Africa.

9 – The tournament has been switched to being held in odd-numbered years so as not to clash with the FIFA World Cup. AFCON will also for the first time this year, be held mid-year, away from the traditional January – February window, to alleviate the club-versus-country battles that have marred previous editions.

10 – Three different trophies have been awarded during the tournament’s history. The current trophy was first awarded in 2002, and Egypt won it indefinitely after completing their historic treble of titles in 2010.

Kenya's former olympic 1500 metres champion Asbel Kiprop banned four years for doping

The 29-year-old, who also won three world championship golds, tested positive for the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO) in November 2017.

Kenya’s former Olympic 1500 metres champion Asbel Kiprop has been handed a four-year ban for doping, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Saturday.

The 29-year-old, who also won three world championship golds, tested positive for the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO) in November 2017.

Kiprop had argued his urine sample, which was taken out of competition, could have been tampered with by his testers, who had tipped him off about their visit and taken a payment from him.

But the AIU, an independent body managing all doping-related matters for athletics, said they were satisfied that there had been no interference and an IAAF Disciplinary Tribunal on Saturday suspended him for four years effective February 2018.

He had been tentatively suspended by the AIU in May last year.

“The (AIU) panel is aware that its order will interrupt, and may even terminate, the athlete’s sporting career and cast a shadow over his impressive competitive record,” it said in a statement.

“But in its opinion the laboratory results viewed in the context of the evidential record and the regulatory framework unit admit of no other conclusion than the case against the athlete is convincingly made out.”

Kiprop can appeal his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). He continues to maintain his innocence.

“There is no justice in the world. Not every prisoner in jail is guilty,” he told Kenyan media on Saturday. “I will consult my lawyer to see if I will appeal at CAS but no matter the outcome I will be back stronger.”

Kiprop was awarded the 1500m gold medal from the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing after original winner Rashid Ramzi tested positive for doping. Kiprop won his three world titles in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

Senegal's Sadio Mane shortlisted for PFA Player of the Year award

The award is voted for by PFA members from the 92 Premier League and Football League teams in England. The current holder is Egypt and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.

The Professional Footballers Association, PFA, on Saturday revealed the shortlist for the season’s PFA Player’s Player of the Year with Senegal and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane being the only African listed.

Mane is one of two Liverpool players on the list along with defender Virgil van Dijk. Manchester City, Liverpool’s main challengers for the Premier League title had three nominees.

Argentine attacker Sergio Aguero, England’s Raheem Sterling and Portuguese Bernado Silva were listed. The last nominee was Belgian international and Chelsea forward Eden Hazard.

The award is voted for by PFA members from the 92 Premier League and Football League teams in England. The current holder is Egypt and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.

Mane’s exploits have been crucial for Liverpool in their quest for a historic Premier League title and also challenge for the UEFA Champions League, a campaign they came second in last season.

The PFA awards also recognizes Young Player of the Year with two of those listed on the Player’s Player also listed in that category – Sterling and Silva.

The complete list is as follows:

  • Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool
  • David Brooks, AFC Bournemouth
  • Marcus Rashford, Manchester United
  • Declan Rice, West Ham United
  • Bernardo Silva, Manchester City
  • Raheem Sterling, Manchester City

German giants FC Bayern opens football academy in Ethiopia - first in Africa

Despite being the first such facility in Africa, FC Bayern has such facilities in the USA, China, Thailand, Japan and Singapore. Ethiopia becomes the sixth country where FC Bayern has established a Fo

German and European football giants, FC Bayern have announced the opening of a new FC Bayern Football School at a media conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The partnership with the national football body, the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) includes an ongoing exchange of experience plus the regular presence of youth coaches from FC Bayern to train local players and coaches in Addis Ababa.

Jörg Wacker, FC Bayern executive board member for Internationalisation and Strategy, and FCB Brand ambassador Giovane Elber accompanied the official delegation of the Bavarian Minister President Dr. Markus Söder, who is currently visiting Ethiopia.

His duties include opening an Africa Office in the city of Addis Ababa with its population of 4.4 million. As part of an FC Bayern under 17 tournament, Wacker signed an agreement at the Yidnekachew Tessema Stadium Addis Ababa.

That was followed by a symbolic kick-off of the “FC BAYERN FOOTBALL SCHOOL ADDIS ABABA” in the presence of the Bavarian Minister President plus representatives of the national football federation and the Ministry of Sport.

Minister President Dr. Markus Söder said: “FC Bayern is one of Bavaria’s biggest attractions. Now, the FC Bayern Football School in Addis Ababa brings together Bavarian expertise in football with a sports-mad nation. That is a good basis for a promising partnership.”

“With the FC Bayern Football School in Addis Ababa we are opening our first football school of this type in Africa,” said Jörg Wacker. “This gives us the opportunity to bring our fans in Africa even closer to FC Bayern and, with the help of our expertise, make an important contribution to the development of football in Ethiopia.”

Following on from USA, China, Thailand, Japan and Singapore, Ethiopia is the sixth country where FC Bayern has established a Football School.

Egypt official accuses CAF president of corruption and abuse of office

A senior official, Amr Fahmy, who levelled the allegations against the president was fired after he accused his boss of bribes and misuse of hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to officials an

Confederation of African Football (CAF) president, Ahmad Ahmad has been accused of corruption and abuse of office, in what could potentially be the latest scandal to rock the football world.

A senior official, Amr Fahmy, who levelled the allegations against the president was fired after he accused his boss of bribes and misuse of hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to officials and an internal document.

What is Ahmad accused of?

The document, sent on March 31 by Egypt’s Fahmy to a FIFA body that investigates alleged ethics breaches and seen by Reuters, accuses Ahmad of ordering his secretary-general to pay $20,000 bribes into accounts of African football association presidents.

They included Cape Verde and Tanzania.

The document also accused Ahmad of costing CAF an extra $830,000 by ordering equipment via a French intermediary company called Tactical Steel.

Furthermore, it accuses him of harassing four female CAF staff, whom it did not name; violating statutes to increase Moroccan representation within the organisation; and over-spending more than $400,000 of CAF money on cars in Egypt and Madagascar, where a satellite office has been set up for him.

Fahmy is fired

Senior CAF officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Fahmy was fired after compiling the document with the allegations against Ahmad, from Madagascar, who took the top African soccer post two years ago.

CAF confirmed to Reuters that Fahmy lost his job at an executive committee meeting in Cairo on Thursday, prior to the draw for the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

It declined to give more details about the reason for his dismissal.

“There’s no explanation. It’s the Executive Committee decision,” communications director Nathalie Rabe said in an email exchange with Reuters on Sunday.

Fahmy was replaced by Mouad Hajji, from Morocco.

Ahmad, who is also a vice-president of world governing body FIFA, did not respond to requests for comment on the allegations against him.

Requests for comment to the football presidents and authorities of Cape Verde and Tanzania, and to Tactical Steel in France, were also not immediately answered.

Tainted sport

The allegations against Ahmad follow a string of scandals related to FIFA’s practices in Latin America and Asia in recent years, which have led to the indictment and jailing of numerous senior football administrators.

The corruption scandals first broke in 2015.

The CAF case is potentially problematic for FIFA president Gianni Infantino – set to be re-elected unopposed in June for a four-year term – as Ahmad is one of his deputies.

FIFA declined comment.

“The Ethics Committee does not comment on potential ongoing proceedings nor on whether or not investigations are underway into alleged ethics cases,” a spokesperson said.

Ahmad, 59, served as Minister of Fisheries in Madagascar and in the country’s senate before a quick rise to the CAF presidency. His accuser Fahmy, 35, was appointed as general secretary in late 2017, keeping up a family tradition that stretches across three generations.


AFCON 2019: Six pools, four teams per pool

AFCON 2019: Six pools, four teams per pool

The draws of the 2019 edition of Africa’s most prestigious football competition are now known with old regional rivalry and revenge opportunities characterizing several polls.
Champions league cup holders Esperance comfortably picked their tickets alongside TP Mazembe, Sundowns and Wydad, setting up a teeth rattling semi finals.

Host nation Tanzania lost their opener against Nigeria in a 5-4 thriller as the competition promises it’s own fair share of excitement, we shall be speaking with a reporter in Dar el Salaam.