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AFCON: Who are the last 10 winners of the Africa Cup of Nations?

Africa’s biggest and best teams go head-to-head every other year for the ultimate prize. The Africa Cup of Nations attracts millions and millions of eyes every time and there is so much at stake. Ivory Coast recently hosted the latest edition of the tournament, which was held back to avoid the country's rainy season during the summer months. As ever, it was a tournament to remember, and Football FanCast has delved into the history books to look at the previous AFCON winners and their paths to continental glory. 2023 Ivory Coast The hosts certainly didn't disappoint on home soil, but they also didn't half put their supporters through it during their journey to the top. It was all going so swimmingly with a 2-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau on opening night, but two successive defeats against Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea - the latter a record-breaking 4-0 reverse - threatened to end the Elephants' tournament there and then. Slipping through as one of the best third-placed teams, they then took the unprecedented step of parting ways with manager Jean-Louis Gasset, leaving assistant Emerse Fae in charge. What happened next was remarkable. A late Franck Kessie penalty helped them squeeze past reigning champions Senegal on spot-kicks, before an extra-time victory against Mali saw them once again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Their semi-final success over DR Congo was comparatively calm, with Sebastien Haller the hero to take them to a final in front of their own fans. The final saw Haller play the starring role once more, with his superb volley completing a comeback against Nigeria as they avenged their group-stage defeat and capped one of the greatest international tournament stories. This one will surely live long in the memory. The delayed 2021 AFCON saw two Liverpool stars take centre stage in Cameroon. Sadio Mane’s Senegal took on Mohamed Salah’s Egypt in the final at Olembe Stadium in the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé. It was 0-0 after 120 minutes and then Mane, now of Bayern Munich, spearheaded his team to success, striking the winning penalty beyond the reaches of Egyptian goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal. The shot-stopper was named Man of the Match in the final, but it was all in vain. This was Senegal’s first-ever AFCON victory and they also scooped up a couple of individual awards, with Mane being named Player of the Tournament and former Chelsea man Edouard Mendy winning the Best Goalkeeper award. Hosts Cameroon came third after losing to Egypt in the semi-finals, while their striker Vincent Aboubakar won the Golden Boot with eight goals. 2021 winners Senegal came up just short in their pursuit of a first-ever AFCON victory two years prior when the competition took place in Egypt. Al Sadd’s Baghdad Bounedjah scored the only goal of the final for Algeria in Cairo, with this being the north African nation’s second success in this tournament. Ahead of Bounedjah’s two in the scoring charts were his fellow countrymen Riyad Mahrez and Adam Ounas on three (amongst others), whilst former Manchester United and Watford striker Odion Ighalo led the way with five. Midfielder Ismael Bennacer of Algeria was given the Player of the Tournament award, and after returning to Italian side Empoli, secured a major move to another Serie A team in the form of Milan. Cameroon came out on top in 2017, though unlike the likes of Algeria and Senegal, Cameroon are no strangers to AFCON glory, having won it four times prior to this triumph. The tournament was originally supposed to be hosted by Libya, but due to the civil war unfolding there, it was then handed over to Gabon. The aforementioned Aboubakar scored the winner in the final against Egypt, with Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny having given the runners-up the lead before centre-back Nicolas Nkoulou levelled things up. DR Congo's Junior Kabananga won the Golden Boot with three goals, finishing one ahead of a large group that continued names such as Salah, Mane, Mahrez, Andre Ayew and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Three-time Ivory Coast player of the year, Didier Drogba, retired from international football in 2014, so his country were looking to triumph in Equatorial Guinea in his absence. The host nation encountered some issues throughout the tournament, including accusations of fraudulent refereeing and crowd trouble, but their achievement of getting to the semi-finals was quite something. At the final-four stage, they were defeated by Ghana, who then went on to lose to Ivory Coast in a dramatic penalty shootout. When Wilfried Bony and Junior Tallo missed the first two spot-kicks, their fans would have been fearing the worst. However, they managed to battle their way back into it, and after Ivorian goalkeeper Boubacar Barry converted, Ghanaian shot-stopper Brimah Razak was unable to match his opposite number. Bony, Gervinho and Max Gradel all led the winning team’s scoring charts with two apiece. The trend of a different team reigning victorious every time around isn’t changing just yet, as a Nigerian side spearheaded by Emmanuel Emenike and Ahmed Musa went all the way in 2013. Some big names featured in the Team of the Tournament for Nigeria, including Victor Moses, John Obi Mikel and goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. Burkina Faso were the opponents in the final in Johannesburg, South Africa, and once again, it was very tight. There was at least a goal to report this time around - the scorer being Sunday Mba, who played a lot of football in his home country before frequenting Scotland (with Rangers), France and Turkey. Zambia’s 2012 win is perhaps one of the most historic in AFCON history, with the backdrop being dominated by political turmoil. Countries such as Libya and Tunisia qualified in spite of their issues back home amid the Arab Spring, whilst Egypt - also a country dealing with political chaos - were unable to book a spot in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. This was the last AFCON to take place in a year bearing an even number (in name, at least) so as to avoid the clashes that preceded it with the World Cup. Zambia won their first-ever title in 2012 and it was very much against the odds. Ivory Coast were the team who they overcame in the final thanks to yet another penalty shootout, and it was made all the more fascinating by the fact that the eventual runners-up didn’t concede a goal all tournament. After seven straight, successful penalties from the likes of Drogba, Sol Bamba and Cheick Tiote, ex-Arsenal duo Kolo Toure and Gervinho missed, handing Zambia their history-making moment. The man in charge of the Zambian side was Herve Renard, who exceeded expectations with Morocco and Saudi Arabia more recently too. He is currently at the helm of the French women’s national team, who he led to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2023. Egypt were pretty dominant in 2010, and this was reflected by the winners of the big individual awards. Gedo was the top scorer with 5, Ahmed Hassan was named as the Player of the Tournament, and Essam El Hadary got his hands on the Best Goalkeeper award. Hassan Shehata’s side conceded just two goals throughout the tournament, with one coming against Nigeria in the group stage and then the other in their 3-1 quarter-final victory over Cameroon. For context, the Egyptians themselves scored 15 goals across the six games, averaging 2.5 per game. They were the undoubted kings of Africa. Egypt managed to come out on top in back-to-back AFCON tournaments with their 2008 victory, marking just the fourth time in the competition's history a nation has successfully defended their crown. Samuel Eto’o may have won the Golden Boot this time around but El-Hadary had the last laugh as he was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament, kept a clean sheet in the final and earned another winners' medal. That being said, the legendary Eto’o did score twice in the group stages as his side lost 4-2 to the Pharaohs. Mohamed Aboutrika, a man considered by many to be the greatest player in the history of his country, struck home the only goal of the final in the 76th minute. Egypt's first of three consecutive AFCON triumphs came in 2006. In fact, only one other nation had ever retained the trophy, and that was Cameroon, who after beating Nigeria on penalties in the final in 2000, inflicted the same fate upon Senegal two years later. Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o won the Golden Boot, whilst another Egyptian legend in the form of Ahmed Hassan was named as the Player of the Tournament. Another penalty shootout was on the cards in the final here, and Ivory Coast had the more household names in their arsenal. Drogba, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue were amongst those to try their luck from 12 yards out, with the Chelsea legend being the one to fail. Egypt, meanwhile, converted four of their five spot-kicks, with Aboutrika sweeping home the decisive one, setting off a historic run that may never be matched.

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