The Africa Cup through the lens of Faouzi Mahjoub

Cameroon is currently hosting the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations. The Tunisian football journalist and expert Faouzi Mahjoub was a long-time companion of the tournament. With a selection of images from his archive, we look back on the finals between 1962 and 1986.

The history of the Africa Cup of Nations, commonly known as the Africa Cup, began 65 years ago in Sudan. The team from Egypt secured the first African continental championship against the national teams from Ethiopia and Sudan. A lot has happened since. In the final round of the 33rd edition of the tournament, which currently takes place in Cameroon. 24 teams are participating, 52 team even in qualification.

Faouzi Mahjoub at the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations.
Faouzi Mahjoub at the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations. © Faouzi Mahjoub Archive/FIFA Museum

One man has accompanied the development of the Africa Cup of Nations almost from the beginning. Tunisian football journalist Faouzi Mahjoub was covering African football since the late 1950s. Until his death in 2014, Mahjoub was considered one of the most important expert on football on the continent. During his travels, he captured his experiences in thousands of pictures with his camera. These images, along with thousands of documents, are part of the Mahjoub archive acquired by FIFA in 2011 to ensure that his knowledge and experience from over 50 years in African football is not lost.

While the new African champion is being crowned in Cameroon in these days, we have scoured the Mahjoub archive to look back at the tournaments between 1962 and 1986 with a selection of his pictures.

1962: 3rd Africa Cup of Nations – Ethiopia
Click to enlarge © Mahjoub Archive/FIFA Museum

1962: 3rd Africa Cup of Nations – Ethiopia

In the third edition of the tournament in 1962, the host won for the second time. In the final in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia won 4-2 after extra time against defending champions Egypt, who had won the two previous tournaments. In 32 tournaments so far, the team of the host country has been crowned the winner eleven times.

1965: 5th Africa Cup of Nations - Tunisia
Click to enlarge © Mahjoub Archive/FIFA Museum

1965: 5th Africa Cup of Nations - Tunisia

The team from Ghana was also able to win the title as hosts at the fourth edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in 1963 – its first ever participation. Two years later at the finals in Tunisia, the "Black Stars" were able to successfully defend their title. Here we see some players warming up before a game in this tournament.

1972: 8th Africa Cup of Nations - Cameroon
Click to enlarge © Mahjoub Archive/FIFA Museum

1972: 8th Africa Cup of Nations - Cameroon

In 1972, the finals were held in Cameroon for the first time. This time, however, the host, shown here on a team photo before the tournament, could not win the title and finished in third place. It was not until 1984, twelve years later, that Cameroon became African champions for the first time.

1972: 8th Africa Cup of Nations - Cameroon
Click to enlarge © Mahjoub Archive/FIFA Museum

1972: 8th Africa Cup of Nations - Cameroon

Here we see a scene from the group match between Mali and Togo (3:3), which was played at the Omnisports stadium in the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé. The final in 1972 also took place in that stadium. 50 years later, the stadium, this time under the name Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, is once again the venue for the Africa Cup of Nations. However, the final this year will take place at a different venue.

1972: 8th Africa Cup of Nations - Cameroon
Click to enlarge © Mahjoub Archive/FIFA Museum

1972: 8th Africa Cup of Nations - Cameroon

The winner of the 8th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in 1972 was the People's Republic of Congo (now the Republic of Congo), which celebrated its first and only victory to date. Here we see the then President of Cameroon, Ahmadouz Ahidjo, handing over the trophy to Congo captain Yvon Ndolou.

Record holder Laurent Pokou
Click to enlarge © Mahjoub Archive/FIFA Museum

Record holder Laurent Pokou

In this undated picture from about 1970-74 we see Laurent Pokou from the Ivory Coast (orange jersey) in action. The striker was top scorer in 1968 with 6 goals and in 1970 with 8, five of which he scored in a single game. A record that has endured to this day. His total of 14 goals were also a record – for 38 years. It was not until 2008 that he was passed by the current record scorer Samuel Eto'o.

1974: 9th Africa Cup of Nations – Egypt
Click to enlarge © Mahjoub Archive/FIFA Museum

1974: 9th Africa Cup of Nations – Egypt

In the final of the 9th Africa Cup of Nations, the teams from Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Zambia met in Cairo. The picture shows the two teams before the first final match. It was the first final of the Africa Cup of Nations that was not decided after 90 minutes plus extra time. Since at that time the games were not yet decided by a penalty shootout, a rematch took place two days later. This was won 2-0 by Zaire.

1978: 11th Africa Cup of Nations – Ghana
Click to enlarge © Mahjoub Archive/FIFA Museum

1978: 11th Africa Cup of Nations – Ghana

This photo shows fans in the stands at an unidentified match of the 11th Africa Cup. The 1978 finals were held in Ghana for the second time and the Ghanaian team was able to win their home tournament again after 1963. Overall, it was Ghana's third triumph at the Africa Cup. This gave Ghana the right to keep the Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem Trophy.

The Trophies
Click to enlarge © Mahjoub Archive/FIFA Museum

The Trophies

On the left is an undated photograph of the Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem Trophy, named after the first president of the CAF, the Egyptian Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem. This trophy was presented to the winners of the Africa Cup from 1957 to 1978. After three victories in 1963, 1965 and 1978, Ghana was allowed to keep the trophy permanently. It was replaced at the 1980 tournament with the African Unity Cup (right in the picture), which was given to Cameroon in 2000 after winning the tournament three times (1984, 1988, 2000). The current trophy has been in use since 2002.

1980: 12th Africa Cup of Nations – Nigeria
Click to enlarge © Mahjoub Archive/FIFA Museum

1980: 12th Africa Cup of Nations – Nigeria

The teams of Nigeria and Algeria entering the pitch before the 1980 final in Lagos, Nigeria. Both teams reached the Africa Cup final for the first time in this year. With Nigeria's 3-0 victory, a host was once again able to secure the title at this edition.

1984: 14th Africa Cup of Nations – Ivory Coast
Click to enlarge © Mahjoub Archive/FIFA Museum

1984: 14th Africa Cup of Nations – Ivory Coast

The moment when Cameroon's first Africa Cup triumph came within reach. Ernest Ebongué celebrates his goal to make it 3-1 in the 84th minute during the final against Nigeria in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Roger Milla is seen celebrating behind him. A few minutes later, victory was a certainty and Cameroon were African champions for the first time.

1986: 15th Africa Cup of Nations – Egypt
Click to enlarge © Mahjoub Archive/FIFA Museum

1986: 15th Africa Cup of Nations – Egypt

Fans of the Ivory Coast cheer on their team in the stands at an unknown match of the 15th Africa Cup of Nations, held in Egypt in 1986. The big triumph was not to come this year as the team from Côte d'Ivoire reached third place. 6 years later at the tournament in Senegal, the team and fans were able to celebrate their first title win.

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