Africa’s premier International cup competition the Africa Cup of Nations is set to begin as the continent's best teams and players go head-to-head to see who will come out on top.
This year signals the 33rd edition of the tournament which began in 1957 and nominally takes place every two years with rare exceptions.
The first tournament, held in Sudan, featured just three teams with Egypt beating Ethiopia in the final having earlier overcome the hosts.
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Over the years, the tournament has continued to grow and expand with this year’s event featuring 24 teams in total.
Algeria are the reigning champions having beaten Senegal 1-0 in the 2019 final in Egypt.

When is the Africa Cup of Nations?

The tournament begins on Sunday January 9 with the final taking place on Sunday February 6.

Where is it being held?

This year’s edition of the Africa Cup of Nations will take place in Cameroon. However, this wasn’t always the case as the west African nation were originally due to host the 2019 tournament before being replaced by Egypt due to delays in preparation and therefore handed the 2021 event instead.
Ivory Coast, who were originally slated for 2021 will now take on hosting duties for 2023.
This year's final will be held at the 60,000 seater Olembe Stadium in Yaounde

Why now?

We’ve been through this! Like most other tournaments and events scheduled for 2020 and 2021, the global coronavirus pandemic forced everything to be delayed by a year.

Yes, but why now, in the middle of the traditional European season?

The Africa Cup of Nations has frequently been held around this time of year for reasons including climate conditions and the timing of the African club football seasons.
CAF, African football’s governing body, has actually agreed to try and move the tournament to the European summer – as seen in Egypt in 2019 – but it wasn’t possible this year.
The next competition is currently scheduled for June-July of 2023.

Format

There are six groups of four teams who play each other once. The top two from each group automatically progress to the last 16 knockout stage.
They will be joined by the four best third-placed teams with the bottom six teams in each group and the two third place teams with the worst records being eliminated.

Algeria's forward Riyad Mahrez and his teammates celebrate with the trophy after winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Final football match between Senegal and Algeria at the Cairo International Stadium in Cairo on July 19, 2019.

Image credit: Getty Images

Schedule

Sunday January 9
  • Group A: Cameron vs Burkina Faso, 4pm, Olembe Stadium, Yaounde
  • Group A: Ethiopia vs Cape Verde, 7pm, Olembe Stadium, Yaounde
Monday January 10
  • Group B: Senegal vs Zimbabwe, 1pm, Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam
  • Group B: Guinea vs Malawi, 4pm, Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam
  • Group C: Morocco vs Ghana, 4pm, Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde
  • Group C: Comoros vs Gabon, 7pm, Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde
Tuesday January 11
  • Group E: Algeria vs Sierra Leone, 1pm, Japoma Stadium, Douala
  • Group D: Nigeria vs Egypt, 4pm, Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua
  • Group D: Sudan vs Guinea-Bissau, 7pm, Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua
Wednesday January 12
  • Group F: Tunisia vs Mali, 1pm, Limbe Stadium, Limbe
  • Group F: Mauritania vs Gambia, 4pm, Limbe Stadium, Limbe
  • Group E: Equatorial Guinea vs Ivory Coast, 7pm, Japoma Stadium, Douala
Thursday January 13
  • Group A: Cameroon vs Ethiopia, 4pm, Olembe Stadium, Yaounde
  • Group A: Cape Verde vs Burkina Faso, 7pm, Olembe Stadium, Yaounde)
Friday January 14
  • Group B: Senegal vs Guinea, 1pm, Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam)
  • Group B: Malawi vs Zimbabwe, 4pm, Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam)
  • Group C: Morocco vs Comoros, 4pm, Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde
  • Group C: Gabon vs Ghana, 7pm, Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde
Saturday January 15
  • Group D: Nigeria vs Sudan, 4pm, Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua
  • Group D: Guinea-Bissau vs Egypt, 7pm, Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua
Sunday January 16
  • Group F: Gambia vs Mali, 1pm, Limbe Stadium, Limbe
  • Group E: Ivory Coast vs Sierra Leone, 4pm, Japoma Stadium, Douala
  • Group F: Tunisia vs Mauritania, 4pm, Limbe Stadium, Limbe
  • Group E: Algeria vs Equatorial Guinea, 7pm, Japoma Stadium, Douala
Monday January 17
  • Group A: Burkina Faso vs Ethiopia, 4pm, Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam
  • Group A: Cape Verde vs Cameroon, 4pm, Olembe Stadium, Yaounde
Tuesday January 18
  • Group B: Malawi vs Senegal, 4pm, Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam
  • Group B: Zimbabwe vs Guinea, 4pm, Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde
  • Group C: Gabon vs Morocco, 7pm, Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde
  • Group C: Ghana vs Comoros, 7pm, Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua
Wednesday January 19
  • Group D: Egypt vs Sudan, 7pm, Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde
  • Group D: Guinea-Bissau vs Nigeria, 7pm, Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua
Thursday January 20
  • Group E: Ivory Coast vs Algeria, 4pm, Japoma Stadium, Douala
  • Group E: Sierra Leone vs Equatorial Guinea, 4pm, Limbe Stadium, Limbe
  • Group F: Gambia vs Tunisia, 7pm, Limbe Stadium, Limbe
  • Group F: Mali vs Mauritania, 7pm, Japoma Stadium, Douala

Round-of-16 fixtures and results

Sunday January 23
  • Group A runner-up vs Group C runner-up, 4pm, Limbe Stadium, Limbe
  • Group D winner vs Group B/E/F third-place, 7pm, Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua
Monday January 24
  • Group B runner-up vs Group F runner-up, 4pm, Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam
  • Group A winner vs Group C/D/E third-place, 7pm Olembe Stadium, Yaounde
Tuesday January 25
  • Group B winner vs Group A/C/D third-place, 4pm, Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam
  • Group C winner vs Group A/B/F third-place, 7pm, Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde
Wednesday January 26
  • Group E winner vs Group D runner-up, 4pm, Japoma Stadium, Douala
  • Group F winner vs Group E runner-up, 7pm, Limbe Stadium, Limbe

Quarter-final fixtures and results

Saturday January 29
  • Quarter-final 1: Round-of-16 game 4 winner vs Round-of-16 game 3 winner, 4pm, Japoma Stadium, Douala
  • Quarter-final 2: Round-of-16 game 1 winner vs Round-of-16 game 2 winner, 7pm, Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua
Sunday January 30
  • Quarter-final 3: Round-of-16 game 7 winner vs Round-of-16 game 6 winner, 4pm, Olembe Stadium, Yaounde
  • Quarter-final 4: Round-of-16 game 5 winner vs Round-of-16 game 8 winner, 7pm

Semi-finals

Wednesday February 2
  • Semi-final 1: Quarter-final 1 winner vs Quarter-final 4 winner, 7pm, Japoma Stadium, Douala
Thursday February 3
  • Semi-final 2: Quarter-final 2 winner vs Quarter-final 3 winner, 7pm, Olembe Stadium, Yaounde
Third-place match
Sunday February 6
  • Semi-final 1 loser vs Semi-final 2 loser, 4pm (Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde) - Live on Sky Sports

Final

Sunday February 6
  • Semi-final 1 winner vs Semi-final 2 winner, 7pm, Olembe Stadium, Yaounde
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