The 32ndAfrica Cup of Nations will be staged in Egypt from June 21-July 19, with an expanded field of 24 teams vying for the coveted trophy.
Played every two years, the tournament has a long and rich history, older even than the European Championships, and is the jewel in the African football crown.
In the third and final part of our series, supersport.com looks back at all past finals, in this case from 2000 to 2017.
2000 IN GHANA & NIGERIA
The Nations Cup was jointly held in two countries for the first time, though it was an experiment that would not last.
Cameroon lifted the trophy by beating co-hosts Nigeria in the final in Lagos, claiming a penalty shootout 4-3 after a 2-2 draw.
South Africa had ousted Ghana in the quarterfinals and would end third after defeating Tunisia, also in a shootout, following a 2-2 draw in the bronze-medal match.
Shaun Bartlett finished top-scorer in the tournament with five goals, one more than a young Samuel Eto’o.
2002 IN MALI
Back-to-back triumphs for the Indomitable Lions as they claimed their fourth title in all, again needing penalties in the final as they time they saw off Senegal 3-2 following a 0-0 draw.
It was the same Senegal side that would go on to star in the World Cup in South Korea & Japan later in the year.
Nigeria picked up the bronze as they beat hosts Mali 1-0 in the playoff fixture.
2004 IN TUNISIA
Tunisia claimed their first Nations Cup win after years of heartache, using home ground advantage to secure the title.
They beat Morocco 2-1 in the decider, their Brazilian import Francileudo Santos and Ziad Jaziri on target.
Nigeria again defeated Mali in the bronze-medal match, this time by a 2-1 scoreline, after they had narrowly lost to Tunisia on penalties in the semifinals.
Benin, Rwanda and Zimbabwe all made their debuts on the continental stage.
2006 IN EGYPT
Egypt defeated the so-called Golden Generation of Ivory Coast to lift the title with a 4-2 penalty shootout victory after the teams played to a 0-0 draw in the final in Cairo.
Didier Drogba and Bakari Koné missed in the shootout to gift Egypt their fifth continental win.
For the third tournament running Nigeria picked up the bronze, though this time they edged Senegal 1-0 in the playoff game.
Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o finished as top-scorer with five goals.
2008 IN GHANA
Egypt were in the middle of a purple patch and retained their title in Ghana, defeating Cameroon 1-0 in the final thanks to a goal from legend Mohamed Aboutrika.
It was another dominant performance from an excellent Pharaohs side that confirmed their status as the best on the continent.
Ghana took bronze with a 4-2 win over Ivory Coast in the playoff, signalling another failure from the Ivorians.
Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o again finished as top-scorer with five goals.
2010 IN ANGOLA
A hat-trick of wins for Egypt as they edged luckless Ghana in the final thanks to a late goal from Mohamed Nagy, better known as Gedo.
It was a tournament that started badly as Togo’s bus was shot at by militants on their way to the finals, killing three people and forcing their withdrawal from the competition.
It also contained one of the most remarkable games in Nations Cup history. Angola were leading Mali 4-0 with 11 minutes remaining, but somehow conspired to concede four times and have to settle for a point.
Nigeria, as had become their habit, picked up bronze with a 1-0 win over Algeria.
2012 IN EQUATORIAL GUINEA & GABON
CAF tried the co-hosting arrangement again, but it added little to the enjoyment of the competition.
Zambia emerged as shock winners of the tournament having been considered rank outsiders at the start, with French coach Herve Renard working his magic.
They beat Ivory Coast’s galaxy of stars 8-7 on penalties in the final after a 0-0 draw, with Kolo Toure and Gervinho missing from the spot for The Elephants.
Mali took home bronze with a 2-0 win over Ghana, as Botswana Equatorial Guinea and Niger all debuted.
2013 IN SOUTH AFRICA
The tournament was played just 12 months later in South Africa after a switch to ‘odd’ years by CAF so as not to clash with the World Cup.
Nigeria had brought a young side to the tournament, but claimed a surprise victory under coach Stephen Keshi, as the other so-called ‘big guns’ all fell away.
They beat another surprise package in Burkina Faso in the final, with Sunday Mba getting the only goal at Soccer City.
Mali again took home the bronze with a 3-1 win over Ghana, while Cape Verde made their Nations Cup debut.
2015 IN EQUATORIAL GUINEA
Champions: Ivory Coast
Equatorial Guinea stepped in to host the finals at short notice after Morocco withdrew over concerns at being exposed to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa.
Ivory Coast finally got their tournament win, and Herve Renard his second as a coach, after beating Ghana 9-8 in the shootout, ironically after most of their Golden Generation had retired from international football.
The Ivorians missed their first two spot-kicks in the shootout, but rallied to score their next nine and take the win.
DR Congo finished third with a shootout win over hosts Equatorial Guinea.
2017 IN GABON
Gabon took over as hosts when it became clear that Libya would not be able to stage the event due to the instability in the country.
Not many had Cameroon down as potential winners prior to the start, but Belgian boss Hugo Broos managed to steer them to a 2-1 victory over Egypt in the final.
Along the way they ousted hosts Gabon and fancied Senegal and Ghana, so it was a worthy win for the Indomitable Lions.
Vincent Aboubakar scored the winning goal two minutes from the end of the final to gift Cameroon their fifth continental title.
Burkina Faso took third after a 1-0 victory over Ghana in the bronze-medal match.
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