Ahead of the draw of the final tournament of the TOTAL Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 on Wednesday, 19th October 2016 in Libreville, here are some numerical highlights of the history of the qualifiers and the Africa Cup of Nations;
1 – Amongst the 16 finalists, Guinea Bissau is the only first timer. They topped Group E ahead of Congo, Zambia and Guinea Bissau.
The presence of the ‘Djurtus’ maintains the record of having a Portuguese speaking country at every edition of the final tournament since 2006.
Angola made five successive appearances between 2006 and 2013 with Cape Verde qualifying for the first time in 2013 in South Africa and two years later in Equatorial Guinea.
2 – Two best runners-up, Uganda and Togo from Groups D and A respectively qualified alongside the winners of the 13 groups namely Tunisia (Group A), DR Congo (Group B), Mali (Group C), Burkina Faso (Group D), Guinea Bissau (Group E), Morocco (Group F), Egypt (Group G), Ghana (Group H), Cote d’Ivoire (Group I), Algeria (Group J), Senegal (Group K), Zimbabwe (Group L) and Cameroon (Group M).
3 – The Warriors of Zimbabwe have qualified for the final tournament for only the third time after 2004 and 2006.
4 – Four teams have indigenous coaches – Florent Ibenge (DR Congo), Paulo Torres (Guinea Bissau), Aliou Cisse (Senegal) and Calistus Pasuwa (Zimbabwe).
Also four Gabonese cities, Libreville, Oyem, Franceville and Port Gentil will host the finals of the 31st edition from 14 January to 5 February 2017.
There are also four pots under which countries were grouped with four final groupings.
7 – The number of goals scored by the top scorer of the qualifiers, Soudani Hilal El Arabi of Algeria. It includes a brace in the 3-1 away win over Lesotho in Maseru on 6 September 2015.
Also, the Pharaohs of Egypt are the most successful side in the history of the competition with seven triumphs – 1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010. The Egyptians lost 4-2 after extra time to Ethiopia in the final in 1962.
8 – Eight former winners including holders Cote d’Ivoire have qualified for the 31st edition of the Africa Cup of Nations.
The others are Algeria (1990); Cameroon (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002); Egypt (1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010); Ghana (1963, 1965, 1978, 1982); Morocco (1976); Congo (1968, 1974) and Tunisia (2004).
10 – Ten teams from the last edition in 2015 in Equatorial Guinea have qualified for next year’s finals in Gabon.
They are holders Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, DR Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Tunisia.
12 – The number of hotels that will accommodate all the 16 finalists at the AFCON 2017 edition.
13 – Qualification for 2017 means 13 qualifications in a row for the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia since 1994. Between the period, 1994 to 2015, Tunisia won the title at home beating Morocco in the final in 2004 and losing to South Africa in the final in 1996.
14 – A total of 14 teams have at least once laid their hands of the Holy Grail of African football.
They are Egypt (7 times), Ghana & Cameroon (4 times each), Nigeria (3 times), Cote d’Ivoire & DR Congo (2 times each) with the likes of Algeria, Congo, Ethiopia, Morocco, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia and Zambia with one title each.
16 – There are 16 finalists who will play at AFCON 2017 edition. Hosts Gabon are joined by Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, DR Congo, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon, Mali, Senegal, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Togo and Zimbabwe.
18 – The Teranga Lions of Senegal was the only team to win all six matches during the qualifiers, with a point tally of 18 in Group K.
21 – The number of Red Cards shown during the qualifiers from over 150 matches.
23 – Egypt has qualified for the final tournament the most times, 23, missing out on only eight editions.
The years are; 1957, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1970, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2017.
25 – ‘Les Fennecs’ of Algeria scored 25 goals in six matches during the qualifiers, the highest by any team. The 1990 winners let in five goals finishing with a goal difference of 20.
38 – The Cranes of Uganda had to endure a 38-year wait to qualify for the final tournament since their last showing in 1978. Their other appearances at the final tournament were 1962, 1968, 1974 and 1976.
39 – Of the 54 National Associations affiliated to CAF, 39 of them have qualified for the flagship continental football championship at least once since its inception in 1957.
They include Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi and Mali. The rest are Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
355 – A total of 355 goals were scored during the qualifiers, an average of 2.5 per match.
444 – The number of yellow cards shown during the qualifiers.
*Additional information from Cafonline