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AFCON BOSS, AMAJU PINNICK CONFIDENT EGYPT 2019 WOULD BE A SUCCESS

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The 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football, who is also the President of AFCON Organizing Committee, Nigeria’s Amaju Pinnick has assured that the continental football –ruling body is doing everything within its power to ensure that the 32nd Africa Cup finals holding in Egypt this summer is a huge success.

Speaking in Lagos on Monday, Pinnick, who is also President of the Nigeria Football Federation, said CAF is aware of the apprehension of the African football stakeholders, and is putting measures in place to tackle those fears and guarantee a seamless continental house party that everyone would be proud of.

“CAF is not unmindful of the reservations being harboured in some quarters, and feelings of anxiety being expressed in several fora by some individuals and groups. What is important is that we are taking note of all these and putting measures in place to tackle these genuine fears.

“At the end of the day, football would be the winner. We are very positive that those measures we have put in place and those we have lined up will culminate in an occasion that every African would be proud of, and which will leave the average football follower elsewhere enthralled.”

There has been widespread anxiety within the African football community over the hosting of the first –ever 24 –nation AFCON, following CAF’s decision to strip Cameroon of the hosting right at the end of November last year, with new host Egypt announced only early this month.

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On Saturday, CAF’s Emergency Committee announced that the draw ceremony for the championship, scheduled for 21st June – 19th July in eight Egyptian venues, would hold in Cairo on 12th April. That is exactly 10 weeks to the opening match of the championship.

In previous years and decades, host nations of Africa’s flagship tournament had been privileged to have more time to prepare for the various obligations involved in staging the competition, with the exception of Equatorial Guinea and Gabon (the last two host nations) who had few months to step in after originally –designated hosts balked late in the day.

“We are assured that Egypt would be ready and would put up a good show. CAF is also monitoring preparations on all fronts to ensure that nothing goes wrong.”

Nigeria’s Super Eagles, three –time champions, have already booked their place at the 24 –nation fiesta.

THE CHANGING FACES OF AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS

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1957: Three participating countries, hosted by Sudan, won by Egypt

1959: Three participating countries, hosted by Egypt, won by Egypt

FIRST CHANGE IN NUMBER OF FINALISTS FROM 3 TO 4

1962: Four participating countries, hosted by Ethiopia, won by Ethiopia

SECOND CHANGE IN NUMBER OF FINALISTS FROM 4 TO 6

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1963: Six participating countries, hosted by Ghana, won by Ghana

1965: Six participating countries, hosted by Tunisia, won by Ghana

THIRD CHANGE IN NUMBER OF FINALISTS FROM 6 TO 8

1968: Eight participating countries, hosted by Ethiopia, won by Congo Kinshasa (Later Zaire and now DR Congo)

INTRODUCTION OF 2 YEAR INTERVAL AND IN EVEN-NUMBERED YEARS

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1970: Eight participating countries, hosted by Sudan, won by Sudan

1972: Eight participating countries, hosted by Cameroon, won by Congo

1974: Eight participating countries, hosted by Egypt, won by Zaire (now DR Congo)

1976: Eight participating countries, hosted by Ethiopia, won by Morocco

1978: Eight participating countries, hosted by Ghana, won by Ghana

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1980: Eight participating countries, hosted by Nigeria, won by Nigeria

1982: Eight participating countries, hosted by Libya, won by Ghana

1984: Eight participating countries, hosted by Cote d’Ivoire, won by Cameroon

1986: Eight participating countries, hosted by Egypt, won by Egypt

1988: Eight participating countries, hosted by Morocco, won by Cameroon

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1990: Eight participating countries, hosted by Algeria, won by Algeria

FOURTH CHANGE IN NUMBER OF FINALISTS FROM 8 TO 12 & INTRODUCTION OF QUARTER FINALS

1992: Twelve participating countries, hosted by Senegal, won by Cote d’Ivoire

1994: Twelve participating countries, hosted by Tunisia, won by Nigeria

FIFTH CHANGE IN NUMBER OF FINALISTS FROM 12 TO 16

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1996: Sixteen participating countries, hosted by South Africa, won by South Africa

1998: Sixteen participating countries, hosted by Burkina Faso, won by Egypt

2000: Sixteen participating countries, co-hosted by Ghana and Nigeria, won by Cameroon

2002: Sixteen participating countries, hosted by Mali, won by Cameroon

2004: Sixteen participating countries, hosted by Tunisia, won by Tunisia

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2006: Sixteen participating countries, hosted by Egypt, won by Egypt

2008: Sixteen participating countries, hosted by Ghana, won by Egypt

2010: Sixteen participating countries, hosted by Angola, won by Egypt

2012: Sixteen participating countries, co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, won by Zambia

CHANGE OF CALENDER TO ODD NUMBERED YEARS  

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2013: Sixteen participating countries, hosted by South Africa, won by Nigeria

2015: Sixteen participating countries, hosted by Equatorial Guinea, won by Cote d’Ivoire

2017: Sixteen participating countries, hosted by Gabon, won by Cameroon

SIXTH CHANGE IN NUMBER OF FINALISTS FROM 16 TO 24

2019: Twenty-Four participating countries, to be hosted by Egypt

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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