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Cup Of Nations - What Do You Know About It?
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The cup of nations also called the africa cup of nations is the major soccer competion on the continent. So , how does it all began?

The Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) invited four self-ruled African coutries then to their 1956 congress in Lisbon Portugal. These countries were Ethiopia , Egypt Sudan and South Africa.

The idea to organized a continental championship like that of the Europeans was born in a meeting held between these four nations in a hotel in Lisbon. At a follow-up meeting held in Cairo, Egypt , agreement was reached for the first championship to be organized in Sudan.

These independent countries thus assembled in Khartoum , Sudan in 1957 for the championship. South Africa ,however , was prevented from taking part for failing to present multi-racial squad. Egypt won the first championship by humbling Ethiopia 4-0 in the final match.

The second edition of the cup of nations was hosted by Egypt who were also the defending champions in 1959. Once again it was open to only the independent countries then - Sudan , Ethiopia , Egypt and South Africa. South Africa was refused particition again for their apartheid policy of presenting all white squad. Egypt won their second cup , beating Sudan 2-1 in the final match.

The cup of nations has grown from participation by invitation to going through qualification series. Number of participating teams is now sixteen from the original four since 1996. The 1996 championship , however, saw only fifteen countries scheduled to participate because Nigeria withdrew. South Africa were the host and winners, beating Tunisia 2-0 at the final.

Egypt won the championship the most times - seven times. Ghana and Cameroon won four times each. The 2012 edtion which was the 28th edition saw Zambia won the championship for the first time as the 14th country to have won the championship.The 2012 edition was co-hosted by Gabon and Equitorial Guinea.

Samuel Etoo of cameroon is the overall cup of nations top scorer with 18 goals. Laurent Pokou of Ivory Coast and Rashidi Yekin are second and third with 14 and 13 respectively. The Confederation of Africa Football - CAF, has decided to have the championship organized in odd years begining 2013 to avoid a clash with the world cup. South Africa hosts the 2013 championship .

The cup of nations has grown stronger over the years. The qualification matches are becoming harder and harder as the gap between the "minows" as they are called and the traditionally stronger teams is fast closing if not already closed. Traditionally strong teams like Nigeria , Egypt , South Africa and Cameroon failed to qualified for the just ended championship-the 2012 edition . At their expense were first timers like Niger and Botwana. Mention could also be made of the likes of Sudan and Libya who are not so big names when it comes to Africa football.

Zambia's success as the winners of the 2012 cup of nations championship lend credence to the view that days of minows are over in Africa football. What do you think?


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