What Teams Play in the Africa Cup of Nations?


Quick Answer

The African Cup of Nations is a soccer tournament that features 16 different African national teams. As of 2015, the host country or countries automatically qualify for the tournament, while the other 14 or 15 countries are decided through the tournament's qualification process.

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Full Answer

The qualification process for the 2012 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, officially known as the Coupe d'Afrique des Nations or CAN, featured a total of 47 teams split into 12 groups. These 47 teams competed for the remaining 14 places, as the host nations of Equatorial Guinea and Gabon qualified automatically.

The first edition of the tournament was held in 1957 and featured only three teams: Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia. South Africa was also scheduled to compete but was forbidden from doing so due to the country's apartheid policies. In 1986, the number of teams competing in the tournament was expanded to eight. It was then expanded again to 12 teams in 1992 and then to the current 16 team format in 1996. The tournament is held every two years, in odd-numbered years so as not to conflict with the World Cup.

The 2015 edition of the tournament was hosted by Equatorial Guinea and was won by Ivory Coast. The tournament was originally scheduled to be hosted by Morocco but was eventually moved due to concerns over the Ebola outbreak.

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