• Monday, June 24, 2024
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AFCON 2015: Who wins the $1.5m prize money?

Nigeria, Benin Republic lose AFCON 2027 hosting right

The prestigious African Cup of Nations (AFCON), the biggest soccer party in the continent competition goes underway in Equatorial Guinea. The three weeks soccer tourney, which kicked off last Saturday, 17th January, will run through to 8th February 2015.

The biannual tournament started since 1957 and is older than the European championship.

The 30th edition of the African Cup of Nations currently going on in Equatorial Guinea will see 16 teams battle for a whopping sum of $10m with the eventual champions going home with $1.5m in Equatorial Guinea. The losing finalist gets one million dollars.

This is according to a special CAF media guide for the games, which also confirms the other two semi-finalists will have $750,000 each.

The eight quarter-finalists are each guaranteed $600,000 while third-placed teams in each of the first round groups will get $500,000 each. Bottom teams get $400,000 each.

Read also: Counting the cost of Nigeria’s absence at AFCON 2015

Despite controversies in the build-up to the event and the persistent threat of the Ebola virus saw a last-minute change of host nation.

Equatorial Guinea was instated as hosts of the 2015 tournament in November with just under two months to the start of the tournament.

With the competition originally due to be held in Morocco, it has been all systems go to prepare, though their co-hosting duties for the 2012 tournament with Gabon has held them in relatively good stead.

Determined to achieve an outstanding success at the championship, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea has affirmed that he would personally pay for 40,000 seats to offer to the poorest supporters throughout the tournament, urging the very rich to do same.

“We have to make the AFCON event monumental; you should therefore buy tickets to fill up the stadia. Let the rich help the poor! Myself, I am buying 40,000 tickets, that is 10,000 per region (the four sites hosting the AFCON).

“These are CFA500 (75 cents) which is equal to 20 Million CFAF (30.000 euros).”

In a bid to encourage fans to go to the stadium, Mbasogo reduced the work shift of civil servants in the regions where games are taking place by two hours on the days matches are played.

Neighbouring country, Gabon which jointly hosted the AFCON 2012 with Equatorial Guinea, has supplied 20 buses to transport the teams.

“It’s our contribution to support Equatorial Guinea. It is said among us that when the neighbour is hosting a feast, it is the entire village that is feasting,” Blaise Louembe,Gabonese minister of sports, stated, justifying his gesture.

The excitement is already for the African Cup of Nations 2015 ongoing in Equatorial Guinea.

Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia played the first two tournaments in odd years before it increased to four, six, eight, 12 and then 16 teams.

The number of participants in the final tournament increased to 16 countries in 1998. Sixteen teams were to compete in 1996 but Nigeria withdrew, reducing the field to 15, and since then, it has been sixteen teams being drawn into four groups of four teams each, with the top two teams of each group advancing to a “knock-out” stage.

Egypt is the most successful nation in the cup’s history, winning the tournament a record of seven times. Ghana and Cameroon have won four titles each.

Three different trophies have been awarded during the tournament’s history, with Ghana and Cameroon winning the first two versions for keeps after each of them won the tournament three times.

The current trophy was first awarded in 2002 and with Egypt winning it indefinitely after winning their unprecedented third consecutive title in 2010.

Few Africans today would have heard of the Algerian Lalmas, Ghanaian dribbling wizard Osei Kofi or Ethiopian captain Italo Vassalo – they were among a host of legends to play in the Nations Cup tournaments of the 1960s.

Since the early days, North Africa and Ghana has maintained its reputation, while the other pioneers Ethiopia and Sudan have deteriorated.

And while there have been many highlights, few African Nations Cup tournaments have taken place without any problems.

One thing is certain, though – that CAF and the Nations Cup is still in existence is due to the passion for the game on the African continent.

Current champions Nigeria, who won the 2013 edition in South Africa, beating fellow West Africans Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final, are absent, having failed to make it through the qualifying series

This year’s edition will also be missing the continents heavy guns, Angola and Egypt; leaving the competition wide open.


Anthony Nlebem