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Goal.com's Africa team picks the top ten Afcon moments since the tournament began in 1957

SPECIAL
By Rami Ayari

It has been almost 55 years since the Africa Cup of Nations was inaugurated and there are plenty of moments that stand out as truly memorable for one reason or another.

Goal.com have picked out some of the most memorable occurrences from the Afcon competitions of the past.
10) CONCEPTION OF THE TOURNAMENT (1957 Afcon)

It’s hard to imagine a time without the Afcon, but this was precisely the case before 1957 when the first tournament was played in Khartoum. As founding members of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Africa were the only countries eligible to take part, this was technically a mini-tournament.

The field was rendered even smaller when Caf disqualified the South Africans for their federation’s discrimination against black players. Thus, the Pharaohs won the maiden competition after ousting the hosts 2-1 and then routing the Ethiopians 4-0 in the title match to begin a tradition of Egyptian excellence on the African continent.


9) FIRST TELEVISED MATCH (1970 Afcon)

Thirteen years after the tournament was inaugurated in Sudan, the tournament was back in Khartoum. This was yet another special occasion as the matches were televised for the first time in the Afcon's history.

Cote D’Ivoire’s Laurent Pokou took full advantage of the camera presence, tallying eight goals in the competition to become a continental star, but it was the hosts who emerged victorious in front of a new audience.


8) NDAYE WINS IT FOR ZAIRE AFTER FINAL REPLAY (1974 Afcon)

The 1974 edition has the distinction of being the only tournament where a final was played twice. Penalty shootouts were yet to be implemented and when the trophy match between Zaire and Zambia ended 2-2 after extra time, a replay was scheduled for two days later.

Mulumba Ndaye had scored both of Zaire’s goals in the first leg only to be denied by a Brighton Sinyangwe strike on 120 minutes. In the replay, Ndaye scored twice more, and the Zambians were unable to reproduce a comeback.


7) NELSON MANDELA HANDS NEIL TOVEY THE CUP (1996 Afcon)

In stark contrast to their disqualification in 1957 due to apartheid era policies, South Africa’s coronation during the 1996 Afcon had a unifying effect on the country. Apartheid had only been abolished two years earlier and free and fair elections were still a novelty when the South Africans stepped in for Kenya to host the tournament.

The sight of Nelson Mandela handing Neil Tovey Bafana Bafana’s first ever Afcon trophy is one that won’t soon be forgotten. As for the game itself, the South Africans downed surprise finalists Tunisia by the score of 2-0.


6) MIDO AND SHEHATA BUST-UP FOLLOWED BY ZAKI GOAL (2006 Afcon)

With the 2006 quarter-final between Egypt and Senegal tied at 1-1, Hassan Shehata decided to bring off Mido in favour of Amr Zaki. The temperamental striker protested the decision, showing his coach a huge lack of respect as he walked off the pitch while the Cairo crowd chanted in unison for him to "get out" in Arabic.

Just three minutes later, Zaki made his coach look like a genius by heading home the winner with his first touch of the game. Mido was then exiled from team and received a six-month suspension for his childish antics.


5) ALGERIA WIN FIRST TITLE IN FRONT OF 100,000 FANS (1990 Afcon)

These days the 5th of July Stadium in Algiers has a maximum capacity of 76,000 people, but an unbelievable 100,000 supporters are said to have been in attendance during Algeria’s 1990 Africa Cup of Nations final against Nigeria.

It is amazing that the stadium held together when Cherif Oudjani scored the winner against the Super Eagles to offer the Fennecs their first Afcon title. The atmosphere must have been absolutely incredible.


4) MCCARTHY SCORES FOUR IN 13 MINUTES (1998 Afcon)

In a feat that will be extremely difficult for anyone to match or top any time soon, a 21-year-old Benni McCarthy scored a mind boggling four goals in the space of a mere 13 minutes against Namibia during the 1998 Afcon group stage.

The goals began in the eighth minute and continued until the 21st. South Africa reached the semi-finals only to be ousted by eventual winners Egypt, but McCarthy still finished the tournament as joint top scorer with seven Afcon goals.


3) ZIDAN DISPOSSESSES SONG IN ACCRA (2008 Afcon)

After torching the Indomitable Lions with two goals in the Pharaohs’ tournament opener, Mohamed Zidan once again played a central role in Cameroon’s demise in the final.

The Egyptians saw one goal attempt after another denied by Carlos Kameni, but the striker's tenaciousness proved too much when he chased down a hesitating Rigobert Song who should have simply cleared the ball. Zidan fell to the ground during his challenge, but still managed to retain possession and lay the ball off to an unmarked Mohamed Aboutrika who scored the winner.


2) ETO'O BECOMES ALL-TIME TOP SCORER (2008 Afcon)

Four days after striking even with Ivorian legend Laurent Pokou, Samuel Eto’o took sole leadership of the Afcon scoring charts when he converted a penalty in the 27th minute against Sudan at the 2008 Afcon.

He’s added plenty more since then. His current total stands at 18, four more than Pokou’s tally. It is a pity, however, that the great striker will not be present at the 2012 edition to add to that incredible record, as the Indomitable Lions did not qualify for the finals.


1) GEDO OFFERS EGYPT UNPRECEDENTED THREE-PEAT (2010 Afcon)

Mohammed Gedo’s goal in the 85th minute of Egypt’s final against Ghana in Luanda wasn’t just a personal milestone for the previously unknown player, but also allowed his country to become the only African nation to win the Afcon three consecutive times.

The surprise inclusion in Hassan Shehata’s squad, who became a super-sub and fan favourite, received the golden boot and was also awarded the discovery player of the tournament award.



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