A total of 24 countries on the continent are taking part in the football jamboree that opens in Cairo this Friday June 21, 2019.
The 32nd edition of the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) rumbles off today, 21th june in Cairo, Egypt, with Egypt taking on Zimbabwe in the opening match at the Cairo International Stadium. Organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) the competition brings together 24 teams on the continent. The 2019 edition of the AFCON is unique in that it is the first AFCON that will have 24 teams competing for the prestigious title as opposed to 16 in the past.
The competition will take place in six stadiums. They are the Cairo International Stadium, Alsalam Stadium, Alexandria Stadium, Ismailia Stadium, Suez Stadium and the 30 June Stadium based in Cairo. Prior to the opening today, several teams have already flown into Egypt. All four Group A teams; Zimbabwe, DR Congo, Uganda and Egypt had already arrived in Cairo and had their final training sessions before the competition. Host country, Egypt, will be looking to secure the trophy for the eighth time in their history. African champions, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon are the next closest with five titles. In the previous edition in Gabon in 2017, Cameroon beat Egypt 2- 1 in the final to lift the trophy.
The Lions had to leave the country yesterday June 20, 2019 for Ismailia where they will be based. They will play against Ghana, Benin and Guinea Bissau. The team had their final training session in Yaounde yesterday before bidding farewell to their fans. Twelve of the 16 nations that participated in the 2017 AFCON will be taking part in the competition. They are Cameroon, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria, Zimbabwe, DRC, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Uganda and host Egypt. Nigeria, Angola, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Benin are making their comeback. Three times winner Nigeria last participated in the tournament in 2013 and won it in South Africa. Angola also returns for the first time since 2013 while Tanzania is coming back for the first time since 1980.