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2012 Africa Cup of Nations

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Venue(s)  4 (in 4 host cities)
Runners-up  Ivory Coast
Matches played  32
Dates  21 Jan 2012 – 12 Feb 2012
Teams  16
Champions  Zambia (1st title)
Fourth place  Ghana
Best player  Christopher Katongo
Goals scored  76

Host countries  Gabon Equatorial Guinea
Champion  Zambia national football team
Third place  Mali national football team
Similar  2013 Africa Cup of Nations, 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, 2006 Africa Cup of Nations

Equatorial guinea beats libya in the opener to the 2012 africa cup of nations

The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, also known as the Orange Africa Cup of Nations for sponsorship reasons, was the 28th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the football championship of Africa organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).


The competition was co-hosted in two countries; it took place in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon from 21 January to 12 February 2012. The bidding process for hosting the tournament ended in September 2006; the continental football federation, CAF, selected Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

The matches were played in four stadiums in four host cities around the two countries, with the final played at the newly built Stade d'Angondjé in Gabon's largest city, Libreville. Fourteen teams were selected for participation via a continental qualification tournament that began in July 2010.

The 2012 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations was one of the most politically charged sports events to take place. Libya (Libyan Civil War) and Tunisia's (Tunisian revolution) national teams qualified for the tournament despite a political backdrop which saw both countries' autocratic rulers ousted from power. Players of the Libyan and Tunisian national teams had fought on the front lines in their respective campaigns. The traditional footballing nations such as reigning champions Egypt (also affected by political events), Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria and South Africa had failed to qualify. Players from third-placed Mali pleaded for the insurgency in the north of their country to end.

In the first round of the tournament finals, the teams competed in round-robin groups of four teams for points, with the top two teams in each group proceeding. These eight teams advanced to the knockout stage, where three rounds of play decided which teams would participate in the final. Both host nations, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, were eliminated from the competition at the quarter final stage.

In the final, unfancied Zambia, the Southern African regional body's 2009 COSAFA Cup runner-up, defeated third-time finalists Côte d'Ivoire after a dramatic penalty shootout in the final, giving Zambia their first continental title, becoming the fourteenth nation to win the tournament. The Zambian team dedicated their win to the members of the national team who died in a plane crash near the final's venue in Libreville in 1993.

Host selection

The five countries who were shortlisted to host the tournament including one joint bid:

  •  Angola
  •  Gabon /  Equatorial Guinea
  •  Libya
  •  Nigeria (reserve hosts)
  • Gabon and Equatorial Guinea won the right to host the tournament after defeating a Nigerian bid along with two other bid winning nations, Angola and Libya. Bids from Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Senegal were rejected. For the first time in CAF history, the hosts of three successive tournaments were chosen at the same time; Angola was chosen to host in 2010, Gabon/Equatorial Guinea were chosen as hosts for the 2012 cup and Libya was originally scheduled to host the 2013 edition. In light of the Libyan Civil War, Libya and South Africa then traded places, with the former arranging in 2017 and the latter in 2013 instead.


    The qualification process involves ten groups of four, one of which was reduced to a group of three after the withdrawal of Mauritania, and one group of five. The top team from each group goes through, as well as the second placed team from the group of five. The two best second place teams also qualify. At the end of the qualification process, fourteen teams would have qualified, as well as the two host nations. The first qualifiers were held on 1 July 2010.


    Togo were initially banned from the 2012 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments by CAF after they withdrew from the 2010 tournament following an attack on their team bus. Togo appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with FIFA president Sepp Blatter stepping in to mediate. The ban was subsequently lifted with immediate effect on 14 May 2010, after a meeting of the CAF Executive Committee. Togo were therefore free to play in the 2012 and 2013 qualifiers.


    On 30 June 2010, after Nigeria's exit from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan punished the team for a poor campaign by imposing a two-year ban from international competition. This would have resulted in the Nigerians missing out on both the 2012 qualifying phase and the 2012 African Cup of Nations. However, on 5 July, the Nigerian government dropped the ban after FIFA threatened to impose harsher international sanctions as a result of the government interference. Nigeria competed in qualifying for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations as scheduled but failed to qualify.


    The opening match, one semi-final and the third place match were held in Equatorial Guinea while the other semi-final and the final were held in Gabon.


    The draw for the final tournament took place on 29 October 2011 at the Sipopo Conference Palace in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The draw ceremony was attended by the two presidents from the host countries, President Ali Bongo of Gabon and President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea. The draw saw the 16 qualified teams being pitted into four groups of four teams each. The two top teams from each group will qualify for the quarter finals with the winners progressing to the semi finals and final eventually.

    The two hosts were automatically seeded into pot 1. The other 14 qualified teams were ranked based on their performances during the last three Africa Cup of Nations, i.e. the 2006, 2008 and 2010 editions. For each of the last three African Cup of Nations final tournaments, the following system of points is adopted for the qualified countries:

    Moreover, a weighted coefficient on points was given to each of the last three editions of the Africa Cup of Nations as follows:

  • 2010 edition: points to be multiplied by 3
  • 2008 edition: points to be multiplied by 2
  • 2006 edition: points to be multiplied by 1
  • The teams were then divided into four pots based on the ranking. Each group contained one team from each pot.

    Match officials

    The following referees were chosen for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.


    Each team's squad for the tournament consisted of 23 players; only players in these squads were eligible to take part in the tournament. Each participating national association had to submit their squad by 11 January 2012 (midnight CET). Replacement of seriously injured players was permitted until 24 hours before the team in question's first match of the tournament.

    Group stage

    Groups A and B took place in Equatorial Guinea, while Groups C and D were held in Gabon. Notably, there was not a single goalless draw during the group stage.

    Tie-breaking criteria

    If two or more teams end the group stage with the same number of points, their ranking is determined by the following criteria:

    1. points earned in the matches between the teams concerned;
    2. goal difference in the matches between the teams concerned;
    3. number of goals scored in the matches between the teams concerned;
    4. goal difference in all group matches;
    5. number of goals scored in all group matches;
    6. fair play points system taking into account the number of yellow and red cards;
    7. drawing of lots by the organising committee.

    All times are West Africa Time (UTC+1).


  • Player of the tournament: Christopher Katongo
  • Top goalscorer of the competition: Emmanuel Mayuka
  • Fair Player of the competition: Jean-Jacques Gosso
  • Fair Play award:  Ivory Coast
  • Scorers

    3 goals
    2 goals
    1 goal
    Own goal
  • Bakary Koné (playing against Côte d'Ivoire)
  • Team statistics

    Updated to games played on 12 February 2012. Team(s) rendered in italics represent(s) the host nation(s). The competition's winning team is rendered in bold.
    (1) – Total games lost not counted in total games played (total games lost = total games won)
    (2) – Total number of games drawn (tied) for all teams = Total number of games drawn (tied) ÷ 2 (both teams involved)
    (3) – As per statistical convention in football, matches decided in extra time are counted as wins and losses, while matches decided by penalty shoot-outs are counted as draws.

    By sub-region

    Updated to games played on 12 February 2012. Host nation(s) are situated in the region(s) rendered in italics.
    (1) – Total games lost not counted in total games played (total games lost = total games won)
    (2) – Total number of games drawn (tied) for all teams = Total number of games drawn (tied) ÷ 2 (both teams involved)
    (3) – As per statistical convention in football, matches decided in extra time are counted as wins and losses, while matches decided by penalty shoot-outs are counted as draws.


    The mascot for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations was unveiled on 16 September 2011 at a ceremony in Libreville, Gabon. The mascot, named Gaguie, is a gorilla sporting the national team colors of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

    Match ball

    The official match ball for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, manufactured by Adidas, is named the Comoequa. The name is inspired from the Komo River which runs through the host nations, and the Equator which runs throughout Africa and unites the host nations.


    2012 Africa Cup of Nations Wikipedia