Pharaohs Forever: Egypt’s Enduring Reign at the African Cup of Nations

Egypt’s Record-Breaking Journey at AFCON

Egypt, the land of ancient wonders and footballing royalty, once again graces the African Cup of Nations stage. This year marks their 26th appearance, a staggering record that speaks volumes about the Pharaohs’ unwavering passion for the beautiful game. More than just a statistic, it’s a testament to their enduring legacy and relentless pursuit of continental glory.

From the jubilant days of their inaugural triumph in 1957 to the heart-stopping penalty shootout win over Burkina Faso in 2017, Egypt’s AFCON journey has been etched in the annals of African football. The iconic Nile, a silent witness to their triumphs and tribulations, seems to flow a little fiercer during AFCON season, imbued with the electric energy of millions cheering for their beloved national team.

But the path to greatness hasn’t been paved with gold. There have been moments of heartbreak, agonizing defeats, and near misses. The agonizing  loss to Cameroon in 2017 and the unexpected home stumble against South Africa in 2019 are scars that remind the Pharaohs of the tournament’s unforgiving nature.

However, it’s this very resilience that defines Egypt’s AFCON story. Like phoenixes rising from the ashes, they have consistently bounced back, returning to the continental stage with renewed vigor and an insatiable hunger for success. The current generation, spearheaded by the talismanic Mohamed Salah and the enigmatic Mohamed Elneny, carries the torch of their illustrious predecessors, determined to add another chapter to Egypt’s glorious AFCON saga.

This  tournament presents a unique opportunity. It’s a chance for redemption, a chance to silence the doubters and reclaim their rightful place on the continental throne. The presence of familiar foes like Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana adds an extra layer of intrigue, promising passionate encounters and nail-biting finishes.

As they step on the pitch of the Felix houphouet-boigny stadium to face Mozambque in the group B opener,  The Pharaohs are set as favourites and will quest for a record-extending eighth title.

OPTA, offers a statistical reading of this confrontation through the following points:

  • Mozambique have been drawn in the same group as Egypt for the fourth time in five appearances at the AFCON. Including this game in Abidjan, 31% of Mozambique’s matches at the tournament have taken place against Egypt.
  • This is Egypt’s 26th appearance at the AFCON, a record in the history of the tournament. They have won it seven times – more than any other side – and have also reached the final in five of their last six participations.
  • Egypt have lost only one of their last 19 AFCON group matches (W14 D4); a 1-0 defeat against Nigeria in the 2021 edition, which also happens to be the only goal the Pharaohs have conceded in their last 11 group games.
  • The last time Egypt lost an AFCON group game by more than one goal was over 30 years ago, in the 1990 edition against hosts Algeria (2-0).
  • Egypt have won eight of their 10 matches in 2023 in all competitions (D1 L1), their only defeat coming against Tunisia in a friendly last September (3-1).
  • This is Mozambique’s fifth AFCON appearance and their first since 2010. They have finished bottom of their group in each of their four previous participations.
  • Mozambique have won none of their 12 previous matches at the AFCON (D2 L10). Only Benin (14) have played more often at the tournament without ever registering a single win.

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