By Mboh Mbenowoh
The January 9, 2022, Africa Cup of Nations slated for Cameroon is within sight now with all the 24 countries dreaming to take home to cup.
Cameroon, who are the hosts, will hope to use home advantage and support to garner their sixth in history and keep the pressure on ousting the record Champions, Egypt who are on seven.
Only seven countries have utilized their home advantage to win the competition in its 65-year history.
Whereas some have hosted and won the AFCON on multiple occasions, others have won it once for the time they were home.
The Egyptian national team who are the most successful nation in the history of the tournament, winning it seven times have won it on home soil thrice.
The Pharaohs won it in 1959, 1986 and 2006 when they were hosts. Their first AFCON triumph at home came in 1959 when Egypt was united with Syria as the United Arab Republic.
In the 1986 AFCON, Egypt won it after beating Cameroon on penalty kicks in the final. Egypt hosted it again in 2006 for the third time and won their fifth championship.
They were unable to lift the trophy in 2019 when they hosted the tournament, as they suffered elimination at the hands of South Africa in the round of 16.
Ethiopia, in 1962, won the third edition of the AFCON and also the first and only one in their history. It was still during the early years of the tournament, and only four teams took part.
Egypt, Ethiopia, Tunisia, and Uganda all played in the competition, which Ethiopia won on their soil. The Walia Ibex beat Egypt in the final after two extra-time goals.
The Black Stars of Ghana have hosted the AFCON four times but have emerged winners on two occasions (1963 and 1978).
They hosted and won the fourth edition of the Cup after beating Sudan 3-0 in 1963. Further, in 1978, it was staged in Ghana, and the hosts clinched the trophy, beating Uganda 2-0 in the final.
They did not win it when they co-hosted with Nigeria in 2000 and when they hosted in 2008. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s first AFCON triumph came when they hosted the tournament in 1980.
In the final, Nigeria defeated Algeria 3-0 to lift the prestigious trophy. However, when they co-hosted the tournament with Ghana in 2000, they lost to Cameroon in the final.
Like Nigeria, Algeria also won their first AFCON at home when they defeated the former in the final 1–0 in 1990.
That was the last time Algeria hosted it, but not the only time they won the competition. The Desert Warriors claimed their second Cup in 2019 and are currently the defending champions, going into the 2021 edition.
On the other hand, South Africa won their only AFCON trophy in 1996 when they were hosts. That year marked the first time the competition was expanded to 16 teams.
Bafana Bafana defeated Tunisia 2-0 in the final. However, when they hosted in 2013, they were not victorious.
To cap, Tunisia also won their only AFCON when they hosted it in 2004. They had previously hosted the tournament twice in 1965 and 1994 but did not win on either occasions.
They finally won in 2004, which was the 24th edition, seeing off Morocco 2-1 in the final.
Fingers crossed about whether Cameroon will be the eighth nation to take the Cup, albeit, on home soil especially with the crowds cheering them on all the occasions they will step foot on the pitch.
Group A: Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde
Group B: Senegal, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Malawi
Group C: Morocco, Ghana, Comoros, Gabon
Group D: Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau
Group E: Algeria, Sierra-Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire
Group F: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia Morocco