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The finals of the 30th edition of the Africa cup of Nations organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), is set to kick off on the 17th of January. Read all the information you need on the tournament from the schedule of matches to the insights on the teams that are participating in this year’s tournament.

Blast from the past, a short history on the African Cup of Nations

The first ever Africa Cup of nations was held in the year 1957 when the four founding members of the CAF – Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and South Africa decided to organise the tournament. South Africa was later disqualified from the tournament after they refused to select any black players in their team.

So a total of three teams fought it out in the first ever tournament and Egypt went on to become the first ever African Cup of Nations Champions. The AFCON was held for a second time in 1959 and the hosts and defending champions Egypt when on to become two time champions.

The 3rd ever AFCON was held in 1962 in Ethiopia and it was the first ever tournament where there were more than three teams in the fray. There were nine teams in total and a qualification tournament was held to determine the final four. Hosts Ethiopia and defending champions Egypt were given a bye to the last four and were joined by Nigeria and Tunisia from who won the qualifying round.

Ethiopia won its first AFCON trophy that year. The list of participants in the Africa Cup of Nations went on to grow from that year onwards. The 2015 edition of the tournament had 51 teams in the qualifying stage and the top 16 teams went on to qualify for the finals of the tournament.

Current Champion

Nigeria was crowned the New Africa Cup of Nations Champions when they defeated Burkina Faso (1-0) in the 2013 edition of the tournament.

However Nigeria will not be there to defend their title come 2015. Nigeria was knocked in the group stages of qualification after they only managed to finish third in their group behind South Africa and Congo.

Not only Nigeria, but the most successful team in the Africa Cup of Nation´s history, Egypt, was also knocked out in the qualifying stage after they finished third in there group behind Tunisia and Senegal.

Emmanuel Emenike of Nigeria was the top scorer of 2013 edition of the tournament with 4 goals and 3 assists, while the player of the Tournament award went to Jonathan Pitroipa of Burkina Faso.

The team groups in the 2015 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations

There will be 16 teams in contention for this year’s tournament, the teams are evenly split into four groups with the top two teams from each group moving onto the quarters, let’s take a look at the groups in this year’s tournament:

Group A – Equatorial Guinea (Hosts), Gabon, Burkina Faso, Congo.

Group B – Cape Verde, Tunisia, Zambia, DR Congo

Group C – Algeria, South Africa, Senegal, Ghana

Group D- Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali.

*All 16 teams will play in a total of 32 games in four venues across Equatorial Guinea.

African Cup of Nations Calendar

Start of the Tournament: – 17th January, 2015

Group Stage matches: – 17th to 28th January

Quarter finals – 31st January and 1st of February

Semi-Finals: – 4 and 5th of February

3rd place playoff: – 7th of February

Finals: – 8th of February.

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