ICYMI: See AFCON 2019 Best XI, top records and individual award winners

The 32nd edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) came to a climax late Friday after a very colourful closing ceremony as Les Fennecs of Algeria were crowned champions of the continent for the second time in their history, following their 1-0 victory over Senegal’s Terranga Lions at the Cairo Stadium in Egypt.

A total of 52 matches were played at Egypt 2019 which is the first expanded tournament from 16 to 24 teams.

The tournament went down in history as  the first where a Video Assistant Referee (V.A.R.) was used, though from the quarter-finals.

Goals and cards

102 goals (1.96 per match) were scored – the highest number of goals scored in an Africa Cup of Nations tournament; 68 in the group phase and 34 in the knockout rounds (3rd place and final inclusive), 174 yellow cards were issued and 5 players got red cards in the course of the tournament.

15 players scored braces and two nations, Burundi and Guinea-Bissau were the only nations that failed to score a goal in all the three matches they played in the AFCON.

As it is customary in top football tournaments across the world, individual awards were given to players and teams who distinguished themselves in the course of the fiesta. Algeria dominated the individual awards category followed by fellow finalists and group C members, Senegal who won the competition’s Fair Play Award.

The Terranga Lions also had the most representation in the tournament’s Best XI.


Team of the tournament (Best XI)

Goalkeeper: Rais M’Bolhi (Algeria)

Defenders: Lamine Gassama (Senegal), Yassine Meriah (Tunisia), Youssouf Sabaly (Senegal), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal),

Midfielders: Adlene Guediora (Algeria), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Senegal), Ismael Bennacer (Algeria)

Forwards: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Sadio Mane (Senegal), Odion Jude Ighalo (Nigeria)

Coach: Djamel Belmadi (Algeria)

Below are the top awards and records:

Fair Play Award: Terranga Lions of Senegal

Total Man of the Competition: Ismael Bennacer (Algeria)

Best Goalkeeper: Rais M’Bolhi (Algeria)

Raïs M’Bolhi kept the most clean sheets (5) in the tournament, beginning from all of Algeria’s first four matches and in the final against Senegal.

Top scorer (Golden Boot): Odion Jude Ighalo (Nigeria) – 5 goals

Other records:

The 2019 AFCON final played before about 60,000 spectators in the stands, is the fifth final to have two African head coaches – and the first since 1998.

Algeria’s Djamel Belmadi joined the prestigious list of 12 local coaches to have won 15 AFCON titles in the previous 31 editions, with Nigerian Stephen Keshi being the latest to achieve that in 2013. Ghana’s Gyamfi and Egypt’s Hassan Shehata remain the only local coaches to have won a record three (each) of those titles.

Nigeria’s Gernot Rohr set a record as the first Nigerian coach to use all 23 squad players in a tournament.

Appearances and number of matches

Host nation, Egypt also ended the tournament as the team to have played the most matches (100) in the history of the competition from a total of 25 appearances, closely followed by Ghana with 99 matches in 22 appearances and Nigeria with 93 matches in 18 appearances.

Champions, Algeria are 6th on the log with 74 matches in 18 appearances, runners-up Senegal are distant 11th with 60 matches in 15 appearances and pre-tournament champions, Cameroun are 4th with 84 matches in 19 appearances.

Prize Money

Algeria will earn $4.5 million dollars for emerging champions. Runners up, Senegal will get $2 million dollars while Nigeria who have established themselves as the masters of the Africa Cup of Nations bronze-medal match, winning a record eight third place, four more than Ivory Coast in second place will receive $1.5 million dollars.


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