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Footballers with Most Appearances in Africa Cup of Nations

Thu 13 January 2022 | 17:30

Africa Cup of Nations 2021 is on with 24 teams participating in it. Who will be the winner of this edition of Africa Cup of Nations? That’s a question which is soon yet to answer. In this post, however, we are not to the African cup winners but footballers with most appearances in it.

This is not something you can get easily on the net - we mean footballers with most appearances in Africa Cup of Nations, since no sources have actually sorted the African footballers based on their appearances in Africa Cup of Nations yet.

What you can get on the net is actually a list of African footballers sorted based on the number of their participation times in Africa Cup of Nations, not actually the number of appearances. What we have done for you in this post is that we have sorted them based on the number of their appearances in the African Cup.

To this date, there have been many

Africa Cup of Nations instances

held - actually 33 - and you can also find an African Cup of Nations winners list on the net with Egypt topping the list. However, as we mentioned above, we are neither to Africa Cup of Nations instances nor African Cup of Nations winners list in this post, but the footballers with most appearances in the African occasion.

A List of Footballers with Most Appearances in Africa Cup of Nations

In this post, we are going to present you with a list of footballers with most appearances in Africa Cup of Nations history with the exact number of their appearances in the African occasion. Please note that appearances in Africa Cup of Nations 2021 have been excluded since the occasion is currently being held - not finished - and that it’s not going to affect the list - we mean no footballer at the end of the occasion have made that many appearances to get in the way of the first ten footballers on the list.

Rigobert Song (36 Appearances)

Number one on the list of

footballers with most appearances in Africa Cup of Nations

, Rigobert Song is a 45-year-old retired Cameroonian defender who, as his position suggests, has made the most number of appearances in Africa Cup of nations to this date - actually 36. Being a defender, you shouldn’t expect Song to have scored goals in the African cup as it’s really so. In all his appearances in Africa Cup of Nations, Song didn’t score a single goal and that’s no bad of him considering his role on the pitch.

Jointly with the Egyptian footballer, Ahmed Hassan, Rigobert Song is the footballer who has taken part in the most number of Africa Cup of Nations editions; actually the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 editions - the same editions as those Ahmed Hassan took part in. He received 3 yellow cards in all his appearances in Africa Cup of Nations but no red card, however, it might be interesting for you to know that Rigobert Song and

Zinedine Zidane

are the only players in World Cup history to have been sent off in two different editions of the global competition - for Song it was in 1994 and 1998 World Cups. And finally the 36 appearances Song made in Africa Cup of Nations actually comprise 26% of all his 137 international appearances plus that he managed to win two editions of the African cup, namely the 2000 and 2002 editions, and finish as runner-up in the 2008 edition with the Cameroonian national team.

Ahmed Hassan (32 Appearances)

A footballer from Egypt, the country that tops the

African Cup of Nations winners list

, Ahmed Hassan Kamel Hussein, simply known as Ahmed Hassan, is a 46-year-old retired footballer who played as a midfielder and made a total of 184 international appearances during his career. From all these appearances, as you see, 32 (17%) took place in eight editions of Africa Cup of Nations, namely the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 editions.

During all his 32 appearances in

Africa Cup of Nations

, Ahmed Hassan managed to score 8 goals - exactly one goal in every 4 appearances, provided 5 assists and received 7 yellow cards which is not bad for a midfielder. The most number of goals Hassan scored in a single match in the editions of Africa Cup of Nations he took part in was a quarter-finals match against Congo in the 2006 edition of the African cup and again a quarter-finals match but this time against Cameroon in the 2010 edition of the African competition where he managed to help his team win 4-1 in the former and 3-1 in the latter by scoring two goals for them. The interesting fact here is that he was also named the best player of the tournament in both editions of the Africa Cup of Nations mentioned above. And it should also be mentioned here that Hassan won the 1998, 2006, 2008, and 2010 editions of the Africa Cup of Nations with the Egyptian national team.

Andre Ayew (32 Appearances)

The first Ghanaian and also the first active footballer on the list of footballers with most appearances in Africa Cup of Nations,

Andre Ayew

is a 32-year-old winger who’s been serving Ghana national team since 2007 having made 100 appearances and scored 22 goals for them in the process. As you see, from among all the 100 appearances Ayew has made for his country’s national team 32 - around one third of all his international appearances - have taken place in Africa Cup of Nations; actually in the 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2019 editions of the African competition.

One thing to note about Andre Ayew is that he has made that number of appearances (32) in six editions of Africa Cup of Nations and he’s still in the business which means he can increase his appearances in the major African cup and rise through the ranks on the list of footballers with most appearances in Africa Cup of Nations. And who knows? He may even top it if he just makes another 5 appearances in the African competition. Also, please consider that the two footballers in front of him on the list have made their 32 and 36 appearances in eight editions of Africa Cup of Nations.

Ayew has scored a total of 9 goals in his 32 Africa Cup of Nations appearances - almost one goal in every 3.5 appearances. He has also provided 2 assists and has received 4 yellow cards in the six editions of the major African cup he took part in. He is also part of the Ghanaian national team in

Africa Cup of Nations 2021

which means he will, by high probability, improve his appearances record in the African competition and even his goals record. Although Ayew never won an Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana - he only finished twice as runner-up and once on the third place with them, he actually became the major African cup top scorer in 2015 with 3 goals, of course, jointly with Thievy Bifouma and Dieumerci Mbokani of Congo, Javier Balboa of Guinea, and Ahmed Akaïchi of Tunisia.

Geremi Njitap (31 Appearances)

Another footballer from Cameroon on the list of footballers with most appearances in Africa Cup of Nations, Geremi Njitap is a 43-year-old retired defender and midfielder in 7 Africa Cup of Nations instances, namely the 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 instances, where he managed to make 31 appearances and score 4 goals - almost one goal in every seven appearances - for his country’s national team. He also provided 2 assists and received 3 yellow cards in all the seven editions of Africa Cup of Nations he took part in.

Njitap is the only footballer on the list of footballers with most appearances in Africa Cup of Nations - at least among the first 20 - who served the top La Liga club,

Real Madrid

, during his career and actively. We say “actively” because we have also Samuel Eto'o on the list who was a Real Madrid player between 1997 and 2000 but he only made 3 appearances for them during this time. Well, back to Njitap, the African also served the top Premier League club, Chelsea, during his career and this one also actively. He actually made 76 appearances for Real Madrid in three seasons and 109 for Chelsea in four seasons. It should also be mentioned here that Njitap won the 2000 and 2002 editions of the Africa Cup of Nations with the Cameroonian national team.

Asamoah Gyan (31 Appearances)

The former captain of the Ghanaian national team and one of the best footballers Ghana has ever produced, Asamoah Gyan is a 36-year-old forward who served the

Ghanaian national team

from 2003 to 2019. He actually announced his retirement from international career in May 2019, but following a discussion with the Ghanaian president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, he reversed his decision, however, due to his old age as a footballer - he’s 36 years old, he’s not been called up to the Ghanaian national team from 2019 on, although he has not officially retired from his international career.

Gyan is not actually part of the Ghanaian national team in Africa Cup of Nations 2021 and that means he’s not going to add to his 31 Africa Cup of Nations appearances which actually comprises almost one third of all his 109 international appearances. Gyan actually took part in seven editions of Africa Cup of Nations, namely the 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019 editions, and managed to score 8 goals in all his 31 appearances in the major African cup - almost one goal in every four appearances. He also provided 6 assists and received 2 yellow cards in all these 31 appearances. Gyan is not a very highly-decorated footballer, however, he’s both Ghana all-time top scorer with 51 goals and the highest African goalscorer in the history of World Cup with 6 goals which should be a big honor for him.

Seidou Keita (31 Appearances)

One of the only two Malian footballers on the list of footballers with most appearances in Africa Cup of Nations, Seidou Keita is a 41-year-old retired midfielder who served some top European clubs like Barcelona and AS Roma during his career, and of course, not as a passive or sidelined player but an active one: He actually made 188 appearances for Barcelona in four seasons and 59 for Roma in two seasons. He also served the

Malian national team

from 1998 to 2015 making 102 appearances and scoring 25 goals - almost one goal in every four appearances - for them in the process.

As you see, almost one third of all the 102 international appearances Keita made (31) took place in Africa Cup of Nations. He actually took part in seven editions of the African major cup, namely the 2002, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2015 editions, and managed to score 8 goals in them. He also provided one assist and received 5 yellow cards in all his appearances in the major African competition. Although Keita never won an Africa Cup of Nations with Mali, he was named on the major African cup Team of the Tournament in 2002, 2010, 2012, and 2013 instances of the African cup.

Samuel Eto'o (29 Appearances)

Considered not only as one of the greatest Cameroonian footballers but also as one of the greatest African footballers of all time, Samuel Eto'o is a 40-year-old retired forward who served some top European clubs like Barcelona, Inter Milan, Chelsea, and Everton during his 22-year career which lasted from 1997 to 2019. He also served the Cameroonian national team from 1997 to 2014 making 118 appearances and scoring 56 goals for them in the process.

What makes Samuel Eto'o quite special on the list of footballers with most appearances in Africa Cup of Nations is that he’s the African cup all-time top scorer with the 18 goals he scored only in six editions of it, namely the 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 editions. And that’s not only that, he’s also Cameroon’s all-time top scorer and the third most capped Cameroonian footballer with 56 goals in 118 international appearances. With the Cameroonian national team, Eto'o actually won the 2000 and 2002 editions of Africa Cup of Nations and became the major African cup top scorer in 2006 and 2008 editions with 5 goals in both sharing his position as the top goalscorer of the competition with no other except for himself!

Yaya Toure (29 Appearances)

The first Ivorian footballer on the list of

footballers with most appearances in Africa Cup of Nations

, Yaya Toure is a 38-year-old recently-retired midfielder who served the top Premier League club, Manchester City, more than any other club during his career; actually for eight years between 2010 and 2018 during which he made a total of 316 appearances - around half of his career appearances - and scored 79 goals for them which translates to one goal in every four appearances.

But let’s see how Toure has done in Africa Cup of Nations. Well, the Ivorian footballer actually took part in six editions of the major African cup, namely the 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2015 editions, with his country’s national team and won the 2015 edition with them. He scored a total of 6 goals, provided 7 assists, and received 5 yellow cards in all his 29 appearances in Africa Cup of Nations. Toure made a total of 101 international appearances during his career which, as you see, his Africa Cup of Nations appearances comprise almost one third of them. And finally, what is quite noticeable about

Yaya Toure

is that he was named African Footballer of the Year by CAF for four consecutive years between 2011 and 2014.

Essam El Hadary (28 Appearances)

The first goalkeeper on the list of footballers with most appearances in Africa Cup of Nations and the only goalkeeper with more than 20 appearances in the major African cup, Essam El Hadary is a 48-year-old recently-retired Egyptian goalkeeper who served the top Egyptian club, Al Ahly, for a major part of his career; actually for 12 years between 1996 and 2008 during which he made a total of 304 appearances for them only at league level.

El Hadary took part in six editions of Africa Cup of Nations, namely the 1998, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2017 editions, with the Egyptian national team and won the 1998, 2006, 2008, and 2010 editions with them. He was also named the tournament’s best goalkeeper in 2006, 2008, and 2010 editions. El Hadary made a total of 159 international appearances during his career and, as you see, 28 of which (around 17%) took place in Africa Cup of Nations. With that number of international appearances, the 48-year-old retired Egyptian goalkeeper has actually become the third most capped Egyptian footballer of all time, and that might be interesting for you to know that, he also scored 2 goals during his career but not at international level - at club level and for Al Ahly and

Al-Taawoun

clubs.

Kolo Toure (27 Appearances)

Yaya Toure’s brother and one of the top footballers Ivory Coast has ever produced, Kolo Toure is a 40-year-old retired defender who served the top European clubs, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool, for the majority of his career. Although he served all these three clubs, he’s often known as an Arsenal player. He served them more than any other club during his career - actually for seven years between 2002 and 2009 - and was actually part of the Arsenal squad in 2003-04 season who were known as “Invincibles” due to their ending the season without losing even a single match within the Premier League.

Kolo Toure took part in seven editions of Africa Cup of Nations, namely the 2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 editions, with the Ivorian national team, but, being a defender, he never scored a goal in all his 27 appearances in the major African cup. He also collected 2 yellow cards in these appearances and actually managed to win the 2015 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations and finish as runner-up in 2006 and 2012 editions with the

Ivorian national team

. Kolo Toure made a total of 120 international appearances during his career from which, as you see, 27 (22%) took place in different editions of Africa Cup of Nations. With that number of international appearances (120), the 40-year-old retired Ivorian defender is also the second most capped Ivorian footballer of all time behind his fellowman, Didier Zokora, with 123 appearances.

Nwankwo Kanu (27 Appearances)

The only Nigerian footballer on the list of

footballers with most appearances in Africa Cup of Nations

, Nwankwo Kanu is a 45-year-old retired forward who played for the top European clubs, Arsenal and Inter Milan, sometime during his career. Despite being a forward, Kanu was never a prolific goalscorer; at club level he scored one goal in every 5 and at international level he scored almost one goal in every 7 appearances, however, he’s one of the few footballers in football history who have won Premier League title, FA Cup, Champions League, and UEFA Cup altogether during their careers. He’s also the third most substituted player in the Premier League history with a total of 118 substitutions - we mean substitutions in, of course.

Kanu took part in six editions of Africa Cup of Nations, namely the 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 editions, with the Nigerian national team but never won the major Africa cup. His best shot at this was in 2000 when he and the

Nigerian national team

finished as runners-up in the major African competition. Kanu made a total of 86 international appearances during his career, and based on that, we can say that around 31% of all his international appearances took place in Africa Cup of Nations. To your surprise, Kanu never scored a goal for Nigeria in any of the Africa Cup of Nations editions he took part in despite his position as a forward. He only managed to score one goal against Uganda in the qualifying round of 2008 Africa Cup of Nations. And it should also be mentioned here that during his international career, Kanu only received one yellow card; actually in the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final match against Senegal which ended in in Nigeria’s 2-1 win.

Salomon Kalou (24 Appearances)

Another Ivorian footballer on the list of footballers with most appearances in Africa Cup of Nations, Salomon Kalou is a 36-year-old forward who played for the top Premier League club, Chelsea, and also the Bundesliga club, Hertha Berlin, for a major part of his career; actually 6 years for each with Chelsea being served from 2006 to 2012 and Hertha Berlin from 2014 to 2020 by him, though he won all his club trophies with the former.

Salomon Kalou is not officially retired yet, however, he’s not signed with any club either which means he will retire soon considering his old age as an outfield player. Let’s see how his stats are with Africa Cup of Nations: Kalou actually took part in six editions of Africa Cup of Nations, namely the 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2017 editions, and scored 5 goals for his country’s national team in all his 24 appearances in the major African cup - around one goal in every five appearances. He also provided 4 assists and received 4 yellow cards in all his appearances in the major African competition, and actually won the 2015 edition of it with the Ivorian national team.

Didier Zokora (24 Appearances)

The most capped Ivorian footballer ever with 123 international appearances, Didier Zokora is a 41-year-old retired defensive midfielder who served the top Premier League club,

Tottenham Hotspur

, sometime during his career; actually for 3 years between 2006 and 2009 making 88 appearances for them in the process only at league level. What is quite noticeable about Didier Zokora is that he scored only two goals during whole his career. One goal in his 468 club appearances and one goal in his 123 international appearances. That’s all! So, although he’s the most capped Ivorian footballer ever, he can be compared to goalkeepers in terms of goalscoring!

Anyway, let’s see how Zokora’s stats are with Africa Cup of Nations. The 41-year-old Ivorian midfielder actually took part in six editions of Africa Cup of Nations, namely the 2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2013 editions, but as you might have guessed, he scored no goals in all his appearances in the major African cup. He also provided no assists - he was actually a defensive midfielder - but received 4 yellow cards in all the African competition editions he took part in. Zokora was no part of the Ivorian national team who won the 2015 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, but he was in the Ivorian 2012 squad who finished as runners-up in the major African competition.

The Rest of the List of Footballers with Most Appearances in Africa Cup of Nations

Here comes a few more other footballers who have had the most number of appearances in the Africa Cup of Nations. Please note that by “Appearances” and “Goals” below we mean appearances and goals in Africa Cup of Nations.

  • Kalusha Bwalya, Ntl: Zambia, Pos: forward, Status: retired, Appearances: 23, Goals: 10

  • Rabah Madjer, Ntl: Algeria, Pos: forward, Status: retired, Appearances: 22, Goals: 4

  • Abdel-Zaher El-Saqqa, Ntl: Egyptian, Pos: defender, Status: retired, Appearances: 22, Goals: 0

  • Hossam Hassan, Ntl: Egyptian, Pos: forward, Status: retired, Appearances: 21, Goals: 11

  • Hany Ramzy, Ntl: Egyptian, Pos: defender, Status: retired, Appearances: 20, Goals: 1

  • Noureddine Naybet, Ntl: Moroccan, Pos: defender, Status: retired, Appearances: 20, Goals: 0

  • Riadh Bouazizi, Ntl: Tunisian, Pos: midfielder, Status: retired, Appearances: 20, Goals: 1

  • Siaka Tiene, Ntl: Ivorian, Pos: defender, Status: retired, Appearances: 19, Goals: 1

  • Boubacar Barry, Ntl: Ivorian, Pos: goalkeeper, Status: retired, Appearances: 18, Goals: 0

  • Mahieddine Meftah, Ntl: Algerian, Pos: defender, Status: retired, Appearances: 16, Goals: 0

  • Kaies Ghodhbane, Ntl: Tunisian, Pos: midfielder, Status: retired, Appearances: 16, Goals: 1

  • Aymen Mathlouthi, Ntl: Tunisian, Pos: goalkeeper, Status: playing, Appearances: 13, Goals: 0

  • Soumbeïla Diakite, Ntl: Malian, Pos: goalkeeper, Status: retired, Appearances: 9, Goals: 0

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source: SportMob

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