|MTN Africa Cup of Nations Ghana 2008|
|Dates||20 January – 10 February|
|Teams||16 (from 1 confederation)|
|Venue(s)||4 (in 4 host cities)|
|Champions||Egypt (6th title)|
|Fourth place||Ivory Coast|
|Goals scored||99 (3.09 per match)|
|Attendance||714,000 (22,313 per match)|
|Top scorer(s)||Samuel Eto'o (5 goals)|
|Best player(s)||Hosny Abd Rabo|
|Best goalkeeper||Essam El-Hadary|
The 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, also known as the MTN Africa Cup of Nations due to the competition's sponsorship by MTN, was the 26th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the biennial football tournament for nations affiliated to the Confederation of African Football (CAF). The tournament was staged at four venues around Ghana between 20 January and 10 February 2008. This was the last Africa Cup of Nations to use the old CAF logo.
Egypt won the tournament, beating Cameroon 1–0 in the final. As winners, they qualified for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup as African representatives.
The organization of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations was awarded to Ghana on 8 July 2004 by the CAF Executive Committee members which are 12 in Cairo, Egypt. Voters had a choice between Ghana and Libya which was disadvantaged by the fact that two countries in the North Africa region had already hosted the last two editions (Tunisia in 2004, and Egypt in 2006).
South Africa, also was a candidate at the start, eventually withdrew in May 2004 after being nominated for the organization of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
This is the fourth time that Ghana has hosted the African Cup after 1963, 1978 and 2000 (jointly with Nigeria).
Main article: 2008 Africa Cup of Nations squads
Main article: 2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
The entrants were divided into 12 groups. All group winners and the best three runners-up from groups with four teams (groups 2-11) qualified for the finals. Host Ghana qualified automatically. Qualifying took place between 2 September 2006 and 13 October 2007.
16 referees and 16 assistant referees were selected for the tournament, including two from Japan and one from South Korea.
|Mohamed Benouza||Brahim Djezzar|
|Divine Evehe||Evarist Menkouande|
|Yuichi Nishimura||Toru Sagara|
|Abderrahim El Arjoun||Redouane Achik|
|Jerome Damon||Enock Molefe|
|Kokou Djaoupe||Komi Konyoh|
|Kacem Bennaceur||Bechir Hassani|
|Djamel Haimoudi||Jeong Hae-Sang|
|Coffi Codjia||Celestin Ntagungira|
|Modou Sowe||Angesom Ogbamariam|
|Alex Kotey||Desire Gahungu|
|Koman Coulibaly||Lassina Paré|
|Badara Diatta||Peter Edibe|
|Eddy Maillet||Inacio Manuel Candido|
|Muhmed Ssegonga||Nasser Sadek Abdel Nabi|
|Kenias Marange||Kenneth Chichenga|
The draw for the tournament took place on 19 October 2007. The sixteen teams were divided into four pots according to their performances in past Cup of Nations tournaments. Ghana, as host, were automatically seeded as the top team in Group A. Egypt, the defending champions, were seeded as the top team in Group C. Each group consists of four teams, one drawn from each of the pots.
During the previous editions of the Africa Cup of Nations, the ball used was not a ball especially made for the tournament. As the tournament was held on even years, the same years big tournaments such as the UEFA European Cup of Nations or the FIFA World Cup were held, the official ball for the tournament held this year was used for the African Cup of Nations: the Adidas Roteiro in 2004, or the Adidas Teamgeist in 2006. However, for the 2008 tournament, Adidas made a special ball, clearly different from the Adidas Europass going to be used five months later for the Euro. The ball was named Wawa Aba and was designed to include host nation Ghana's red, yellow and green. The ball was later used for the other African competitions.
For the Akan culture originating from Western Africa, one of the Adinkra symbols named Wawa Aba is a symbol of hardiness, toughness, and perseverance. People there particularly believe in the strength and team spirit of a community. The Wawa Aba literally means "seed(s) of Wawa tree (Triplochiton scleroxylon)”, one of the strongest and most processible woods of Africa and whose seeds are very hard. For the population, the Wawa Aba mainly has mystical significance. These are people who don't let failure discourage them, who seize all opportunities successfully and who are thus just as strong and adaptable as the Wawa Aba.
Where two or more teams end the group stage with the same number of points, their ranking is determined by the following criteria:
All times given as local time (UTC+0)
|Ghana||3||3||0||0||5||1||+4||9||Advanced to the quarter-finals|
|A. Gyan 55' (pen.)
|Brendell 24'||Report||Alloudi 1', 5', 28'
Sektioui 40' (pen.)
|Feindouno 11', 63' (pen.)
|Youla 62'||Report||Brendell 80'|
|Ivory Coast||3||3||0||0||8||1||+7||9||Advanced to the quarter-finals|
|Kanouté 49' (pen.)||Report|
Y. Touré 44'
|Egypt||3||2||1||0||8||3||+5||7||Advanced to the quarter-finals|
|Hosny 14' (pen.), 82'
Zidan 17', 45'
|Report||Eto'o 51', 90' (pen.)|
J. Mulenga 50'
F. Katongo 59'
Job 32', 82'
Eto'o 66' (pen.)
|Report||C. Katongo 90'|
|Hosny 29' (pen.)
Aboutrika 78', 83'
|Eto'o 27' (pen.), 90'
El Khider 33' (o.g.)
|Zaki 15'||Report||C. Katongo 88'|
|Tunisia||3||1||2||0||5||3||+2||5||Advanced to the quarter-finals|
|Report||Bayal Sall 45'
|Van Heerden 87'||Report||Manucho 29'|
|Diagne-Faye 20'||Report||Manucho 50', 67'
|Santos 8', 34'
Ben Saada 32'
|H. Camara 36'||Report||Van Heerden 14'|
|3 February - Accra|
|7 February - Accra|
|4 February - Tamale|
|10 February - Accra|
|3 February - Sekondi|
|7 February - Kumasi|
|4 February - Kumasi|
|9 February - Kumasi|
|Report||Yakubu 35' (pen.)|
Kalou 72', 81'
B. Koné 85'
|Hosny 23' (pen.)
|Ben Saada 34'
|Report||Mbia 18', 93'
|Keita 63'||Report||Fathy 12'
Zaki 61', 67'
|Report||Sanogo 24', 32'|
Main article: 2008 Africa Cup of Nations Final
The following players were selected as the best in their respective positions, based on their performances throughout the tournament. Their performances were analysed by the tournament's Technical Study Group (TSG), who picked the team.