AFCON trophy

(Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

If you know, you know.

The CAF Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is one of the most exciting football competitions in the world. 

Although the AFCON may not be as famous or renowned as the European Championships, it is still a fantastic tournament that features the best African nations going head-to-head for continental glory.

The AFCON takes place every 2 years giving bettors a lot of opportunities to make some money not only in the main competition but also the qualifiers that lead up to the tournament, which basically means that you can bet and make money on international football throughout the year.

The winner of the AFCON qualifies for the FIFA Confederations Cup.

Recent winners of the AFCON

Year Hosts Winner
2019 Cameroon Algeria
2017 Gabon Cameroon
2015 Equatorial Guinea Ivory Coast
2013 South Africa Nigeria
2012 Gabon & Equatorial Guinea Zambia
2010 Angola Egypt
2008 Ghana Egypt
2006 Egypt Egypt
2004 Tunisia Tunisia

Cameroon will be hosting the 2021 AFCON as well with Morocco and Algeria sure to be favourites to win the tournament.

Most successful teams in Africa Cup of Nations History

Team Titles Most Recent Win
Egypt 7 2019
Cameroon 5 2017
Ghana 4 1982
Nigeria 3 1994
Algeria 2 2020
Ivory Coast 2 2015
DR Congo 2 1974
Zambia 1 2012
Tunisia 1 2004
Morocco 1 1976
South Africa 1 1996
Congo 1 1972
Sudan 1 1970
Ethiopia 1 1962


AFCON Records

  • Samuel Eto’o is the all-time AFCON top scorer with 18 goals. He also won the competition in 2000 and 2002 with Cameroon.
  • Ndaye Mulamba from DR Congo holds the record for the most goals in a single tournament, with 9 goals during the 1974 tournament.
  • At 45 years of age, Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary became the oldest player to play in the competition. He retired from international football in 2017 after the AFCON final.
  • Ahmed Hassan and Rigobert Song of Egypt and Cameroon, respectively, are the two players with the most appearances at the AFCON, having featured in 8 different editions!

AFCON Betting Tips

Before we go into the strategy that you could follow when betting on Africa’s biggest international competition, it is important to look at some of the basic tips that can help you out.

The countries that win are typically the usual suspects

The first ever AFCON was held in 1957. There have been just 14 winners in the 32 tournaments that have been played, out of which, only 7 of them have won the trophy more than once –

  • Egypt – 7 titles
  • Cameroon – 5 titles
  • Ghana – 4 titles
  • Nigeria – 3 titles
  • Algeria, DR Congo and Ivory Coast – 2 titles each

The odds for Egypt to win are typically low given that the nation has been the most dominant force in African football for decades now. Algeria are the current champions so their odds will be extremely low as well. Morocco is an extremely strong team so the odds for them to win will again be on the lower side.

However, if you do manage to get favourable odds for any of the powerhouses in African football then it is definitely a bet worth making. Teams like Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire), Nigeria and Ghana can never be counted out. They are all proud footballing nations that can beat any team on a given day.

Senegal is the highest-ranked African team currently as they sit 20th in the FIFA rankings so they will be considered to be one of the teams to beat. You can never rule out the host nation either in the AFCON.

The Home Team Advantage

History suggests that the home team has a very good chance of winning the trophy.

Cameroon AFCON

Cameroon will be hoping to win the AFCON again as hosts. (Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP via Getty Images)

It is surreal how home advantage in sports can have such a significant impact in games.

African nations have majorly done well in the AFCON as the hosts so you can expect that trend to continue as it has been for years.

11 of the 32 AFCON tournaments have been won by the host nation, which means every third tournament is won by the host on average.

Unlike the case in a lot of the other continent tournaments, Africans thrive when they play on their respective home grounds.

Do your own research

This is the most important tip that we can give you. It is extremely important to do your own research before placing bets. You want to try and reduce the risk you have as much as possible and they only way to do that is to study the game.

Of course, you can place blind bets on the so-called favourites but what if those teams have certain injuries or some other issues that could hamper their play.

For example, if Egypt was to lose Mohamed Salah due to injury, you would believe that this significantly weakens Egypt’s attacking threat and chances to succeed in the tournament.

Every country will play at least one or two warm-up friendlies before the AFCON begins, which will you us a fair idea of what to expect when the group stage kicks off.

AFCON Betting Strategy

There is not any strategy as such. Each person has their own way of doing research, their own risk appetites and their own budgets as well.

We can just give you some useful tips that could contribute to your strategy and help you succeed when betting on the AFCON.

Bet early

Riyad Mahrez Algeria

Riyad Mahrez will be hoping to retain the AFCON title with Algeria as captain. (Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images)

There is no harm in placing your bets early on, as soon as the odds are available for betting on the tournament.

You ask what is the benefit of betting early?

Well, there could be many. Let’s say you pick up a team that has players who were struggling over the due course that has led to their odds rising making it more favourable for you.

Now in the build up to the tournament, these players start hitting form and the odds drop. You have an advantage now having already picked up the bet at higher odds so stand a chance to gain better returns.

The key to this is staying patient and doing good research to be confident with the bet you place.

Follow the domestic leagues of the African nations

This will give you a good sense of the talent at each team’s disposal because not all players will be playing in the top European leagues so a lot of the players will be homegrown talent.

This should give you a fair idea of how strong each African nation is along with their potential to grow over a 2-year period before the AFCON finals arrive.

Mohamed Salah, for example, had a terrific season during his time at AS Roma in Italy. This form continued into the 2017 AFCON.

The Big “Stars” Don’t Always Perform

Inexperienced AFCON bettors are likely to back countries that have the star names but this is extremely risky as Africa has loads of talent spread across several countries.

A lot of players prefer to play for their local teams due to personal reasons but a lot of them are good enough to play football in some of the top leagues across the globe.

Smaller nations with fewer stars could potentially have a better work ethic and a greater sense of togetherness, making them equally dangerous.

Some of these smaller footballing nations in Africa have a Bayern Munich or Barcelona/Real Madrid setup where most of the players play for the same club so there is a lot of team chemistry and the team works like a cohesive unit.

Egypt is the best example of this. Apart from Mo Salah, the Pharaohs do not have another world-class name amongst their ranks, however, they do have a lot of players from the top local clubs like Al Ahly, Zamalek and Pyramids.

This makes a massive difference and history proves this is absolutely true. Before Salah, there was no real global superstar as such for the Egyptians and they still have the most AFCON titles with 7.

Remember this rule and it may take you a long way.