The 32nd edition of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is underway in Egypt.
In total 24 teams are participating in the tournament for the first time in history, making it the biggest yet, and the first to be played during Europe’s summer after the Confederation of African Football moved it from its traditional January/February slot.
The change means the tournament is no longer competing for viewers or players with the Premier League whose season ended in May.
The new time frame also means top players from Europe are available for their national teams.
AFCON is the main international association football competition in Africa. It was first held in 1957 and since 1968 has been held every two years.
Here’s all you need to know about this year’s tournament:
Battle of the hosts: Cameroon vs Egypt
- Egypt is the host country of AFCON 2019, but that is not what was originally intended. Cameroon had been named host nation back in 2014.
- But Cameroon was stripped of the right to host the tournament due to delays in preparations for the tournament and security concerns including the threat of violence near two venues.
- The games are taking place in four Egyptian venues split between six stadiums. The hosting cities are Suez, Alexandria, and Ismailia with the final scheduled to take placein Cairo on July 19. The tournament started on June 21.
- This is not the first time AFCON has moved the tournament – it is the fourth successive change of host cities or game sites.
- The 2013 finals were to be held in Libya but the security situation there meant they were moved to South Africa with Libya to host in 2017.
- In 2015 Morocco had the hosting rights taken away after concerns that travelling fans might bring in the Ebola virus. Equatorial Guinea stepped in with just six months to prepare.
- The 2017 finals were originally due to be held in South Africa, but they had swapped with Libya, which was then also unable to host for security reasons and Gabon took over.