The countdown to the biggest African football extravaganza, the Africa Cup of Nations is down to 29 days and Kawowo Sports continues to bring you history about the biennial tournament.
In today’s article, we look at the evolution of the Africa Cup of Nations trophy since the start of the tournament in 1957.
Throughout the history of the African Cup of Nations, three different trophies have been awarded to the winners of the competition.
The original trophy, made of silver, was the Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem Trophy, named after the first CAF president, Egyptian Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem.
Salem was the President of the Egyptian Football Association from 1952 to 1959 and was replaced by the war minister Abdel Hakim Amer. He is also the first African member on the FIFA Executive Committee. He was present at the meeting of 8 which led to the birth of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), of which he became the first President from 1957 to 1958.
As the first winner of three African Cup of Nations tournaments, Ghana obtained the right to permanently hold the trophy in 1978.
The second trophy was awarded from 1980 to 2000, and was named “Trophy of African Unity” or “African Unity Cup”.
It was given to CAF by the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa prior to the 1980 tournament and it was a cylindrical piece with the Olympic rings over a map of the continent engraved on it. It sat on a square base and had stylized triangular handles. Cameroon won the Unity Cup indefinitely after they became three-time champions in 2000.
In 2001, the third trophy was introduced, a gold plated cup designed and made in Italy.
Cameroon, permanent holders of the previous trophy, were the first nation to be awarded the new trophy after they won the 2002 edition.
Egypt won the gold plated cup for keeps after they became three-time champions in 2010, in an unprecedented achievement by winning three consecutive continental titles.
Unlike previous winners who would have then taken the trophy home, Egypt was presented with a special full-size replica that they were allowed to keep.
First and second-time winners usually get a smaller sized replica for their trophy cabinets.