The Africa Cup of Nations, delayed from 2021, took place in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6, albeit with a large and rapidly growing coronavirus cloud hanging gloomily over it, and was won by Senegal.
The continental showpiece tournament comprised of 24 teams, split into six groups of four. The group stage took place from Jan. 9, with hosts Cameroon kicking the tournament off against Burkina Faso, while the knock-out rounds stared on Jan. 23.
The final was played at Stade dOlembe on Feb. 6, where the Teranga Lions defeated Egypt on penalties after a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes. Liverpool's Sadio Mane struck the decisive penalty to see Senegal to their first African title.
READ: Groups and Standings
In victory, the Teranga Lions become the 15th different side to conquer the continent, finally drawing a line under 20 years of regret since the nation's finest side -- the team that reached the 2002 World Cup quarterfinal -- fell just short against Cameroon in the AFCON final earlier that year.
Senegal are planning to channel Liverpool on and off the pitch as they look to get the best out of Sadio Mane and win the country's first ever Africa Cup of Nations title when they face Egypt at the Stade d'Olembe, Yaounde on Sunday.
Obviously, this match pits the continent's top most prominent players today against one another for Africa's grandest prize -- arguably the first time this has happened, at least since 1980 -- as Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane prepare to go toe to toe at the Stade d'Olembe. The collision between these Liverpool teammates is the kind of subplot that will get the world talking, but there are plenty of other intriguing hooks between these two heavyweights.
No team knows what it means to be Africa Cup of Nations nearly men quite like Senegal, the only side to have reached two finals without getting their hands on the trophy.
Head coach Kamou Malo believes that success at the Africa Cup of Nations can help the embattled Burkina Faso population smile again amidst a Coup d'Etat and political instability back home since the start of the biennial continental showpiece.
Players for Cameroon have asked federation president Samuel Eto'o if their bonuses for qualifying to the Africa Cup of Nations knockout stages can be donated to the victims of last Monday's deadly stampede at the Olembe Stadium.
Senegal were made to wait -- and to battle -- to receive the services of Watford's Ismaila Sarr for the Africa Cup of Nations, but he appears primed to make a major impact in Cameroon despite arriving in the Teranga Lions camp only late in the tournament.
The Africa Cup of Nations final will take place at Cameroon's Olembe Stadium as originally planned after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) received a report on the causes of a deadly stampede that occurred at the stadium of a match last week.
Everyone's been talking about Achraf Hakimi's mesmerising free kicks, and Vincent Aboubakar's eye-watering haul of six goals in four matches, but beyond the major headlines who are the players to have made a big impact at the Africa Cup of Nations? We pick nine under-the-radar players to have caught the eye during the tournament in Cameroon.
As Nigeria pick up the pieces of their shock Round-of-16 elimination from the Africa Cup of Nations, Augustine Eguavoen has told ESPN that he is willing to help incoming coach Jose Peseiro if the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) finalises the appointment. Peseiro was named Nigeria's incoming coach in December, after the sacking of Gernot Rohr, but Eguavoen was given the job in an interim capacity to lead the Super Eagles to the AFCON tournament in Cameroon. Eguavoen relinquished the role when the Super Eagles were eliminated by Tunisia.
After a group stage and Last 16 characterised by narrow score lines, the Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals could see a couple of shock results emerge this weekend, with the action continuing as scheduled despite the Stade d'Olembe tragedy.
When I left my apartment in Mfandena on Monday morning to cover another day of Africa Cup of Nations action, I knew the heat would be hard to deal with. I knew there would be vibrancy. And I knew there would be ever-present drama. But I had no idea of the things I would see and the terrified voices I would hear by the time I returned home over 13 hours later, following the most harrowing day in the tournament's history that left at least eight people dead.
Confederation of African Football president Patrice Motsepe says the continent's governing body will take responsibility for the deaths of at least eight people at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
At least eight people died and 38 were injured in a crush outside a stadium hosting an Africa Cup of Nations soccer game in Cameroon, the government said in a statement on Tuesday.
Malawi head coach Mario Marinica has hit out at the conditions his team have encountered at their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) accommodation and outlined his belief that there is a conscious bias against the "smaller" teams in the competition.
Morocco's Africa Cup of Nations build-up was overshadowed by coach Vahid Halilhodzic's decision to cut Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech from the squad for disciplinary issues. However, in his absence, former Southampton playmaker Sofiane Boufal stepped up to inspire Morocco into the knockout stages, where they will face surprise package Malawi on Tuesday in the Round of 16.
The Super Eagles were brought to ground with a thud on Sunday, with Tunisia upsetting a Nigeria side that looked to be cruising to the AFCON title.
As William Troost-Ekong wheeled away after scoring the goal that sealed Nigeria's 2-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau in the Super Eagles' final Africa Cup of Nations group game, it was easy to imagine the wave of emotions pouring over him in that moment. After seeing that goal, and the three performances preceding it, Watford fans can also be forgiven for wondering if they are seeing the same player they have been watching week after week in the Premier League.
Algeria head coach Djamel Belmadi was under no illusions as to the failings of his side as their Africa Cup of Nations title defence ended after three matches with Thursday's 3-1 defeat by Ivory Coast in Douala.
Sierra Leone's English core has underpinned their success at their first AFCON tournament in 25 years.
Nigeria's 2-0 win on Wednesday ensured that the Super Eagles became only team to emerge from the AFCON group stage with maximum points.
Goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare is set to return for Ivory Coast's Group E decider vs. Algeria, just three days after the death of his father.
In recent years, the team have fallen short of those glory days and have suffered some embarrassing results, including a stunning home loss in World Cup qualifying to Central African Republic -- a side ranked 124th in the world at the time. The last two displays in Cameroon have not only changed the perception, but have their fans falling in love with their team again.
Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita will miss Guinea's round-of-16 tie at the Africa Cup of Nations after picking up a yellow card in Tuesday's 2-1 defeat by Zimbabwe, but his team have vowed to battle through to the quarterfinals to prove he deserves to be considered one of the continent's top players.
Steven Caulker may only be two games into his international career with Sierra Leone, but the one-time England defender is already enjoying a remarkable start to life with the Leone Stars at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was prevented from playing for Gabon in their Africa Cup of Nations draw with Ghana on Friday after traces of the coronavirus were found in his system, according to head coach Patrice Neveu, who refuted earlier reports from his own federation that the striker was suffering with heart problems.
There was a bit of the fortuitous in Nigeria's second goal against Sudan in their second group game of the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday, but nothing fortunate about the convincing nature of the result that saw them secure their place in the round of 16.
Max Gradel, playing only five days after the funeral of his father, who made the difference in the Elephants' AFCON opener against Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday, slamming home a right-footed effort from 20 yards before dissolving in tears at the emotion of the moment.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may not have played football for more than a month, and he may have been in isolation for six days after testing positive for COVID-19, but Gabon have absolutely no concerns about his fitness and sharpness as they prepare to welcome him back on Friday.
Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac has backed Black Stars midfielder Thomas Partey to show the quality that could make him the outstanding player of the Africa Cup of Nations when the West African heavyweights resume their campaign on Friday.
The early days of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations have been fraught with incident, from positive coronavirus tests to Burkina Faso alleging "scandal" around CAF's coronavirus protocols, but none of it compared to the refereeing storm that engulfed the final moments of Mali's 1-0 victory over Tunisia in Limbe, Cameroon, on Wednesday.
Salima Mukansanga is primed to make history at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, where she will become the first woman to referee a match at the men's continental showpiece. The tournament in Cameroon is the latest step in a rise to prominence for Mukansanga, who was the fourth official for Guinea's 1-0 victory over Malawi on Monday, and is expected to take the reins as a central referee later this week.
Kelechi Iheanacho ripped home a world-class strike on the half-hour mark, and the Super Eagles survived a late siege to emerge with all three points from their opening game of the tournament. In fairness, the scoreline flattered the Pharaohs. It could easily have been at least four.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is training in his hotel room in a bid to give himself the best chance possible of making an impact for Gabon at the Africa Cup of Nations, according to head coach Patrice Neveu.
Losing four starters on the eve of a tournament is not exactly ideal for any team with realistic designs on the title, but Nigeria captain Ahmed Musa says his team is confident ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations opener against Egypt. The Super Eagles start their AFCON tilt against Mohamed Salah's Pharaohs in Garoua on Tuesday, missing the likes of Victor Osimhen, Leon Balogun, and Odion Ighalo, while Paul Onuachu is not with the squad either.
Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana has told ESPN that he is delighted to put a "difficult year" behind him and focus on glory with the Indomitable Lions after the hosts secured a 2-1 victory in the Africa Cup of Nations opener over Burkina Faso on Sunday. The Inter Milan-bound goalkeeper endured a difficult 2021 in which he didn't play competitively for 10 months after receiving an initial one-year ban -- later reduced to nine months -- for testing positive for prohibited substance Furosemide.
Read it in Dutch HERE.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa says it wasn't an easy decision to step away from Napoli's title charge midway through the Serie A season to join Cameroon's Africa Cup of Nations squad, but he has the full backing of his club during the continental showpiece.
On Friday afternoon, 48 hours before the Africa Cup of Nations was due to kick off at the newly ... nearly ... finished Stade d'Olembe in Yaounde, the Cameroonian capital already had a sizzling, feverish pre-match feel. It's been 50 years since Cameroon last hosted the continental showpiece -- a lifetime in footballing terms, particularly considering the Nations Cup is hosted every two years -- and the young population of this Central African country have only heard about that 1972 tournament in whispered memories passed down through the generations.
It's hard to look beyond the reigning champions Algeria, who have played 33 matches without defeat since October 2018.
Africa's finest attackers are set to descend on Cameroon in January as the continent's top sides compete for the Africa Cup of Nations, but who will go home with the top scorer award?
Nigeria interim head coach Augustine Eguavoen named his 28-man squad for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations on Christmas day, and it features more dual nationals than ever before. Six of the 28 players were either born or raised abroad. That is the highest number of dual nationality players, born or raised outside Nigeria, to be named in a tournament squad.
It must feel like deja vu for Super Eagles interim coach Augustine Eguavoen, who was in charge of the Nigeria team at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 and saw them to a bronze medal. Fifteen years later, he has returned to lead the team back to the tournament and then make way for someone else, this time for Jose Peseiro, who will take over from Gernot Rohr.
In the tournament's history, some of Africa's hottest talents have used the AFCON as a platform to secure a move to European football and the riches that can await across the Mediterranean. ESPN remembers five African players who made the move to Europe on the back of a Nations Cup, and profile some emerging stars who could follow in their footsteps in 2022.