The Africa Cup of Nations 2022’s final tournament is just around the corner. It’s the perfect time to learn about the qualified teams and AFCON groups. The more you know, the better you can make AFCON predictions for the finals!
Groups for the African Cup of Nations 2022
Originally, 52 teams attempted to join the tournament in AFCON groups. As there was only space for 48 teams, the eight lowest seed teams were placed in a preliminary round. The top four were allowed into the qualifiers.
Over the course of the qualifiers, half the teams were eliminated. 24 teams moved on to the final tournament of the Africa Cup of Nations.
The qualified teams were placed in 6 groups of 4 teams each, based on their seed and performance throughout the qualifiers group stage. Here is the full list of groups after the Final Draw. The AFCON groups were seeded using both FIFA’s rankings and their performance in the qualifiers:
Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Cape Verde
Senegal, Zimbabwe, Guinea, and Malawi
Morocco, Ghana, Comoros, and Gabon
Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, and Guinea-Bissau
Algeria, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, and Ivory Coast
Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, and Gambia
The next stage of the Africa Cup of Nations will start on 9th January 2022. Each of the four teams inside the groups will play each other. The top two, plus four of the third-place teams will move onto a round of 16. From there, it’s a simple elimination match through the quarter- and semi-finals.
AFCON Group Winners
In the qualifiers group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations, there were 12 groups. The top two teams from each group moved into the final round. The qualifications were mired with delays and rescheduling, due to the pandemic. However, all the teams ultimately managed to play their matches and qualify by June 2021.
The AFCON groups stage has not started yet. It is scheduled to kick off on 9th January 2022. Each team in the groups will play one match against each other. The results of the qualifiers are the best way to estimate how each group will measure up. In the Qualifiers, the Winners were:
Group A – Mali
Mali won the Group A of qualifiers with a decent record of 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. However, it should be noted one of the wins was due to Chad’s disqualification.
Group B – Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso had a competitive run in Group B, snagging first place with only 3 wins and 3 draws. They had 12 points in total.
Group C – Ghana
In Group C, Ghana beat Sudan narrowly by a margin of one point. They had 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss, for 13 points in total.
Group D – Gambia
Gambia’s first time qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations was by a fairly slim margin. It tied with second-place Gabon with 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses. It also tied in head-to-head points and goal differences. The Gambia came out ahead in the total number of goals.
Group E – Morocco
Morocco had an excellent showing in Group 4, where they qualified handily with one whole match to go and 4 wins so far.
Group F – Cameroon
Cameroon is hosting the AFCON 2022. It was not necessary for them to win the group stage. However, they still did so with 3 Wins, 2 Draws and a single Loss.
Group G – Egypt
Egypt is generally one of the stronger teams in the AFCON. They took first place in Group G with 3 wins and 3 losses against a competitive group.
Group H – Algeria
Algeria had a great margin of points, at 14 points to the runner-up’s 8. They have 4 wins and 2 draws in Group H.
Group I – Senegal
Senegal was the top-seeded team in the qualifiers. They provide that with a record of 4 wins and 2 draws in Group I
Group J – Tunisia
Tunisia showed the strongest performance of any team in the group stages. They had 5 wins and a single draw for 16 points – the most of any team at this stage.
Group K – Ivory Coast
In Group K, Ivory Coast emerged as the leader with 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. As a relatively competitive team, they did not have much trouble in their group.
Group L – Nigeria
In Group L, Nigeria had a huge margin over second place. With 4 wins and 2 draws, Nigeria earned 14 points to second-place Sierra Leone’s 7 points.
AFCON Group Runners Up
While most of the eyes are on the AFCON groups winners, that does not mean the Group Runners Up has no chance in the finals. There are plenty of promising teams in the runners up who only got second by a narrow margin. They have good odds of reaching the quarter-finals or semi-finals.
Hence, they should not be discarded so quickly. Here are all the runners-up and their performances on the group’s stage.
Group A – Guinea
Guinea had a good run in Group A, with 3 Wins, 2 Draws and a Loss. They were only a goal shy of tying for first place in the group.
Group B – Malawi
In Group B, Malawi claimed 3 wins, a draw and two losses. They were only two points shy of the group winner.
Group C – Sudan
Sudan is the runner-up of Group C. They only lost by a margin of 1 point to Ghana
Group D – Gabon
Group D had the closest match between first and second place. Gabon had the exact same 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses as the Gambia did. As their total points were equal, tiebreakers were taken into consideration. The two teams turned out to be the same in terms of head-to-head points, goals, difference, scored, away goals and overall difference. Gabon lost to The Gambia by a margin of just 1 goal.
Group E – Mauritania
Mauritania had an extremely competitive group in the qualifiers, going up against Morocco. They became runners-up with only 2 wins, 3 draws and a loss.
Group F – Cape Verde
Cape Verde narrowly lost to Cameroon by a margin of 1 point. Cape Verde’s final tally was 2 wins and 4 Draws for 10 points.
Group G – Comoros
Comoros also went against a competitive group. Despite that, they qualified for the AFCON for the first time ever, with 9 points from 2 wins, 3 draws and a loss.
Group H – Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe squeaked into the runner-up place in Group H by a margin of 1 point over the third-place. They had 2 wins, losses and draws each.
Group I – Guinea-Bissau
Guinea-Bissau similarly was only one point ahead of the third-place position. As Senegal was the highest seeded team in the tournament, this is to be expected.
Group J – Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea took second place in Group J. They had an even split of 3 wins and 3 losses, totalling 9 points.
Group K – Ethiopia
Ethiopia took second place in Group K with 3 wins and 3 losses – a total of 9 points.
Group L – Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone tied alongside Benin for third place. However, the goal difference pushed them to second place to be the group runner up behind Nigeria.
AFCON Groups FAQs
The Africa Cup of Nations 2021 was originally scheduled for January 2021. Due to the pandemic, it was shifted to January 2022. Many of the preliminary and qualifiers matches were also similarly shifted around.
The AFCON 2022 will now take place from 9th January to 6th February, in Cameroon.
The final tournament of AFCON 2022 will start on 9th January 2022. Cameroon will play Burkina Faso in the first match of the tournament. The group matches will conclude by 20th January and the Round of 16 will take place from 23rd January to 25th.
After a short 4-day break, the Quarter-Finals will be played on 29th and 30th January. The Semifinals are scheduled for 2nd and 3rd February. The third-place playoffs and the finals are both on 6th February 2022.
24 countries qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations 2021’s final tournament, an increase from 16 in previous years. The full list of qualified teams is Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon (Hosts), Cape Verde, Comoros, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
Kenya has qualified for the AFCON 6 times: in 1972, 1988, 1990, 1992, 2004 and 2019. However, unfortunately, they failed to qualify this time in 2021, coming in third place in their group during the qualifiers.