The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is a biennial international competition contested by African countries to determine who becomes the continental champion.
Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Winners List [Updated 1957 - 2021]
Egypt, Cameroon and Ghana have been AFCON winners 15 times between them as the countries with the most AFCON trophies
As the premier and most prestigious football tournament in the continent, it is keenly contested with all African countries jostling to field their best players in a bid to lift the AFCON trophy.
In the 65 years history of the competition, only 15 African countries have had the honour of being crowned AFCON Winners. Many multiple winners abound, with the North African and West African countries often crowned as champions.
We will look at all the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) winners since the inception of the tournament. The AFCON winners list will be arranged starting from the one-time winners to the multiple winners in order of ascendancy.
15. Congo (AFCON Winners - 1972)
Republic of the Congo (not to be confused with The Democratic Republic of Congo) won their only AFCON trophy to date in 1972. The 'Red Devils' as they are called were crowned winners at the 1972 AFCON tournament held in Cameroon.
Congo defeated Mali in the final by a final scoreline of 3-2 to lift the trophy. Hosts Cameroon were third while Zaire took the final podium position to finish fourth.
14. South Africa (AFCON Winners - 1996)
Despite being one of the most invested countries in African football, South Africa has won only one AFCON title. The Bafana Bafana won the 1996 AFCON on home soil, hosting the first-ever 16-team AFCON tournament. South Africa defeated Tunisia 2-0 in the final to lift the AFCON trophy for the first and only time so far.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria did not compete in that year's edition after pulling out at the last minute under pressure from the then military president, Sani Abacha. No country was selected to replace Nigeria so the competition continued with only 15 countries.
13. Morocco (AFCON Winners - 1976)
The Atlas Lions of Morocco are one of eight countries to have won the AFCON trophy just once. The Moroccans won the 1976 AFCON held in Ethiopia.
The 1976 AFCON tournament featured just 8 countries that were split into two groups of four each. The top two countries from each group were put in another group where they played each other in a group stage format again. Morocco finished top of the final group to clinch the trophy.
12. Ethiopia (AFCON Winners - 1962)
Ethiopia won their first and only AFCON trophy on home soil in 1962 after securing automatic qualification for the tournament as hosts. The Walia Ibex of Ethiopia defeated the defunct United Arab Republic 4-2 after extra time in the final of the tournament.
Tunisia and Uganda came third and fourth respectively at the 1962 AFCON. Ethiopian forward Mengistu Worku won the top scorer and player of the tournament awards after scoring three (3) goals in the tournament, two of which was in the final.
11. Senegal (AFCON Winners - 2021)
The latest winners of the prestigious AFCON trophy, it took so long for the Teranga Lions of Senegal to clinch their first African crown. The West Africans had previously played in two AFCON finals (2002 & 2019) but lost both.
Led by Sadio Mane, Senegal finally added their name to the AFCON Winners List at the Cameroon 2021 AFCON tournament. The Senegalese Lions defeated the Pharaohs of Egypt on penalties after both sides played a goalless draw for 120 minutes in the final.
10. Sudan (AFCON Winners - 1970)
The Secretarybirds of Sudan have been crowned African Champions once, winning the 1970 AFCON edition. They also won the competition on home soil.
Sudan met the Black Stars of Ghana in the final, defeating the West Africans by a 1-0 scoreline to lift the trophy. Playing for fourth place Ivory Coast at the tournament, Laurent Poku famously scored 8 goals as the Ivorians lost the third-place match to the United Arab Republic.
9. Tunisia (AFCON Winners - 2004)
The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia clinched their only AFCON Winners medal in 2004. They continued the trend of winning on home soil, one of eleven times that the host country has won the AFCON trophy.
Tunisia faced Morocco in the final of the 2004 tournament, edging their North African neighbours by a 2-1 scoreline. The Super Eagles of Nigeria finished third, defeating Mali by the same scoreline as in the final.
8. Zambia (AFCON Winners - 2012)
The last of the one-time winners, the Chipolopolo of Zambia lifted their lone AFCON trophy at the 2012 edition. AFCON 2012 was co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Led by Herve Renard, Zambia caused a major upset by defeating then three-time finalists Ivory Coast in the final. The Zambians won the final 8-7 on penalties after playing 0-0 after 120 minutes. Ivory Coast famously did not concede any goal throughout the 2012 tournament.
7. DR Congo (AFCON Winners - 1968, 1974)
The Democratic Republic of Congo are two-time AFCON winners, ruling the continent in 1968 and 1974. Alongside Congo, they are the only country to have won every AFCON final they featured in.
The Leopards of Congo won the 1968 AFCON trophy by defeating Ghana 1-0 in the tournament's final hosted by Ethiopia.
In 1974, now known as Zaire, they needed a replay to defeat Zambia in the final of the tournament hosted by Egypt. After playing a 2-2 draw in the first final, the Congolese won the replay 2-0 at the Cairo International Stadium.
6. Algeria (AFCON Winners - 1990, 2019)
The Desert Warriors of Algeria won the first of their two AFCON winners medals as the host nation at the 1990 AFCON. The Algerians defeated the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the 1990 final by a lone goal to become first-time continental champions.
In 2019, Algeria faced Nigeria again but this time in the semifinals. The Desert Warriors picked up another 1-0 victory over the Super Eagles to set up a final clash with Senegal.
Hosted in Egypt, Algeria defeated the Teranga Lions of Senegal by another 1-0 scoreline to win the AFCON trophy for the second time in their history.
5. Ivory Coast (AFCON Winners - 1992, 2015)
The Elephants of Ivory Coast are the third and final two-time winners of the AFCON trophy. The Ivorians won the first of their titles at the Senegal 1992 AFCON tournament, defeating the Black Stars of Ghana 11-10 on penalties after playing a goalless draw after regulation time and extra time.
Ivory Coast had to wait another 22 years before they lifted the AFCON trophy again, this time winning it at the Equatorial Guinea 2015 AFCON. This time again, they required penalty shootouts (9-8) to defeat Ghana after another goalless in regulation and extra time.
4. Nigeria (AFCON Winners - 1980, 1994, 2013)
The Super Eagles of Nigeria are of the more successful countries on the continent, having won the AFCON trophy three times. Only three African countries have picked up the AFCON winners medal more than the Super Eagles.
Nigeria won its first AFCON in front of home fans at the 1980 edition. The Super Eagles comprehensively defeated Algeria by three goals to nothing to add their name to the AFCON winners list.
At the Tunisia 1994 AFCON, Nigeria faced Zambia in the final and picked up a 2-1 victory to clinch their second AFCON title. The Super Eagles' latest AFCON triumph came in 2013. Burkina Faso made it to their first AFCON final but fell to the Super Eagles by a lone goal as Nigeria added its name to the AFCON winners list once more.
3. Ghana (AFCON Winners - 1963, 1965, 1978, 1982)
The Black Stars of Ghana are the only four-time winners of the AFCON trophy on the continent. Even though most of their successes came in the 1990s', they remain a powerhouse in African football.
Their 1963 triumph was achieved on home soil with a 3-0 final victory over Sudan. In 1965, the Black Stars successfully defended their title. They saw off a spirited Tunisian side, who were playing on home soil, by a 3-2 scoreline after extra time.
In 1978, Ghana hosted the AFCON again and won it again in front of their home fans, defeating Uganda 2-0 in the final. Their last AFCON winners medal came 40 years ago, defeating host country Libya 7-6 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation and extra time.
2. Cameroon (AFCON Winners - 1984, 1988, 2000, 2002, 2017)
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon are the second most successful country at AFCON with five (5) trophies to their name. An impressive fact about the Cameroonians is that none of their five triumphs came on home soil.
Cameroon became first-time AFCON Winners in 1984, defeating the Super Eagles of Nigeria 3-1 in the final of the Ivory Coast 1984 AFCON. In 1988, the Indomitable Lions defeated Nigeria again by a lone goal to win the Morocco '88 final.
Cameroon won back-to-back AFCON winners medals at the turn of the century, defeating Nigeria again (4-3 on penalties, after a 2-2 draw in regulation time and extra time) at AFCON 2000 co-hosted by Ghana and Nigeria.
The Indomitable Lions successfully defended their title in Mali in 2002, defeating Senegal after another penalty shootout (3-2) following a goalless draw in regulation and extra time.
Fifteen years later, Cameroon added their fifth AFCON winners medal at the Gabon 2017 AFCON, edging Egypt by two goals to one in the final.
1. Egypt (AFCON Winners - 1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010)
Record seven-time AFCON winners, Egypt are the most successful country on the continent. The Pharaohs have played in 10 AFCON finals, the most of any African country.
Egypt won the inaugural AFCON trophy in 1957, winning a 3-team tournament by defeating Sudan and Ethiopia by 2-1 and 4-0 scorelines in the semi-final and final matches respectively.
They defended their title in 1959 (now under the name United Arab Republic) defeating Ethiopia and Sudan again by 4-0 and 2-1 scorelines in the semi-final and final matches respectively.
Egypt won the 1986 AFCON tournament on home soil, beating Cameroon 5-4 on penalties after a goalless draw in the final. The 1998 AFCON tournament hosted by Burkina Faso ended with Egypt playing South Africa in the final and winning by two goals to nothing.
Egypt won three consecutive AFCON titles between 2006 and 2010, the only country in history to achieve this feat. Ivory Coast (4-2 on penalties), Cameroon (1-0), and Ghana (1-0) were defeated in the 2006, 2008, and 2010 AFCON finals respectively as Egypt reigned in Africa for six years uninterrupted.