The 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is currently taking place in Cameroon, with 16 of the initial 24 teams left in the competition. The tournament has proven to be highly competitive, with many upsets already recorded during the preliminary stage.
The tournament has been dominated by a number of bigwigs from North and West Africa, with 26 of the previous 32 editions won by these countries. The competition was recently expanded from a 16-team format to a more-inclusive 24-team format ahead of the 2019 edition.
Unlike other international tournaments, AFCON is usually held in January/February, a period during which the European football season is usually well underway. This has been a bone of contention between clubs and national teams, sometimes depriving some teams of their best players to the competition.
Without further ado, here is a list of the five countries that have won AFCON most times in the history of the competition.
#5 Algeria (2 titles)
Algeria's national team, the Desert Foxes, have won the Africa Cup of Nations twice in their history. Algeria won its first AFCON title in 1990 after defeating Nigeria's Super Eagles in the final on home soil. The nation would have to wait for 29 years before winning the tournament again in Egypt in 2019.
Algeria have been one of the most dominant African sides in recent years and are ranked third in Africa behind Senegal and Morocco. They crashed out in the group stage of the ongoing AFCON after managing a draw and two defeats. Their group included Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea.
#4 Nigeria (3 titles)
Nigeria's Super Eagles are another of the continent's heavyweights. They have been champions thrice, making them the side with the fourth-most titles in the competition. Nigeria has an array of stars, including the most expensive African player Victor Osimhen and the Leicester City duo of Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi.
The Super Eagles first won AFCON in 1980 on home soil before further triumphs in 1994 and 2013 cemented their place among the elite of African football. Nigeria's Stephen Keshi is one of only two individuals to have won the competition as a player and coach.
The Super Eagles were sent packing from the ongoing edition tournament after a 1-0 defeat to Tunisia in the first knockout round. They are ranked fifth in Africa behind Senegal, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
#3 Ghana (4 titles)
Ghana's Black Stars was a side that dominated early editions of AFCON. The West African giants have won the title four times in their history, making them one of the most successful sides in the history of the competition.
Ghana's first AFCON triumph came in 1963 at the expense of Sudan. Their second triumph came two years later with Tunisia their victims this time. Ghana claimed a third title on home soil in 1978 after defeating Uganda in the final. The national side won their fourth title in 1982 at the expense of Libya.
The Black Stars were the first side to win the trophy four times in the history of the tournament.
Despite being one of Africa's best teams of the 21st century and featuring stars like Michael Essien, Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew, Ghana have failed to win AFCON since 1982. The Black Stars were knocked out of the ongoing edition in the group stage after defeats to Morocco and Comoros and a draw against Gabon.
#2 Cameroon (5 titles)
Cameroon have been a top footballing nation in Africa since the commencement of the AFCON tournament. The Indomitable Lions have won the trophy five times in their history.
Cameroon won their first three titles in 1984, 1988 and 2000 by beating the same team, Nigeria, in the final each time. They also won the tournament in 2002 after defeating Senegal.
Following their triumph in 2002, they joined Ghana and Egypt as the only sides to win the tournament four times since its inception. The Indomitable Lions claimed another title in 2017 at the expense of Egypt to make it five AFCON titles in total.
Cameroon boast of the highest scorer in the history of the competition in striker Samuel Eto'o. They are the hosts of the ongoing edition of the competition and have already qualified for the Round of 16.
#1 Egypt (7 titles)
The Pharaohs of Egypt have dominated African football from the first edition of AFCON. The Egyptians have won the Africa Cup of Nations a record seven times, including three times consecutively in the 2000s.
Egypt won the first two editions of the competition in 1957 and 1959 by defeating Ethiopia and Sudan, respectively. The Pharaohs won the tournament in 1986 and 1998, too, before their most dominant run in the tournament. Egypt won the competition thrice consecutively in 2006, 2008 and 2010. They remain the only side to have won the competition three times in succession since the inception of the tournament.
Egypt have reached the last 16 of the ongoing edition of the tournament in Cameroon as they look set to claim an eighth AFCON crown.