The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (abbreviated as AFCON 2019 or CAN 2019), known as the Total2019 Africa Cup of Nations for sponsorship reasons, was the 32nd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the biennial international men's football championship of Africa organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). The tournament was hosted by Egypt. The competition was held from 21 June to 19 July 2019, as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017 to move the Africa Cup of Nations from January/February to June/July for the first time. It was also the first Africa Cup of Nations expanded from 16 to 24 teams.
The tournament was initially scheduled to be hosted by Cameroon. Cameroon would have hosted the competition for the first time since 1972. They were also the title holders after winning the previous edition. On 30 November 2018, Cameroon was stripped of hosting the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations due to delays in the delivery of infrastructure, the Boko Haram insurgency and the Anglophone Crisis. On 8 January 2019, Egypt was chosen by the CAF Executive Committee as the host nation of the competition. The tournament was also moved from the original dates of 15 June – 13 July to 21 June – 19 July due to Ramadan.
Cameroon were the defending champions, but were eliminated in the round of 16 by Nigeria. The hosts Egypt were eliminated at the same stage after losing 0–1 to South Africa.
Algeria defeated Senegal 1–0 in the final, winning their second title and first since 1990, while Nigeria came third after beating Tunisia 1–0 in their third-place play-off match.
After the CAF Executive Committee meeting on 24 January 2014, it was announced that there were six official candidates for the 2019 edition:
Guinea / Guinea-Bissau / Liberia / Sierra Leone
Kenya / Uganda
Malawi / Zambia / Zimbabwe
This list was different from the list of the host nation bids for both the 2019 and 2021 edition of the Cup of Nations as announced by CAF in November 2013, with Gabon also on the original list, but Cameroon not on it. Among the six official candidates, Algeria, Guinea and Ivory Coast also bid for hosting the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Democratic Republic of the Congo had originally put themselves forward as host candidates but withdrew in July 2014. Security concerns and threats from various militant groups particularly in the eastern part of the country were an early issue with a Congolese bid. Before bidding solo Guinea was part of a four-way joint bid with Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia, similarly Zambia was originally part of a joint bid with Malawi and Zimbabwe. Other nations who expressed early interest in hosting were 2013 champions Nigeria, Senegal, and a joint bid of Kenya and Uganda.
The decision of the host country was postponed from early 2014 to grant each bidding country adequate time to receive the inspection delegation. After the final vote at the CAF Executive Committee meeting, on 20 September 2014, the CAF announced the hosts for the 2019, 2021 and 2023 AFCON tournaments: 2019 to Cameroon, 2021 to Ivory Coast, and 2023 to Guinea.
New bid process
It was expected that Cameroon would host this edition but it was sidelined by the CAF on 30 November 2018 in Accra, Ghana for non-compliance with the specifications, CAF announced that they would be receiving applications for the new hosts until 14 December 2018.
The organization of the competition was finally awarded to Egypt on 8 January 2019 by the CAF Executive Committee meeting in Dakar, Senegal. Voters had a choice between two countries after Morocco's sports minister confirmed that his country was not interested in hosting: Egypt and South Africa.
North Africa will host the tournament for the first time in 13 years after being hosted by Egypt also in 2006.
This is the fifth time that Egypt will host the African Cup after 1959, 1974, 1986 and the 2006 to become the country that has hosted it for the most times in the continent.
In July 2016, Total secured an eight-year sponsorship package from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to support 10 of its principal competitions. Total started with the Africa Cup of Nations that was held in Gabon in 2017 therefore renaming it to Total Africa Cup of Nations.
Tut, the official mascot of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations
The organizing board of the 2019 African Cup of Nations revealed the AFCON 2019 Mascot; "Tut", which was inspired by the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun. His kit bears resemblance to Egypt's home colors, with the map of Africa visible on his shirt as well as the tournament's logo.
CAF replaced Mittre with Umbro as The official match ball, named Neo Pro, was unveiled on 29 May 2019.
Due to Morocco withdrawing from being hosts of the 2015 edition, CAF banned the national team of Morocco from entering the 2017 and 2019 Africa Cups of Nations. However, the ban was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, meaning Morocco, having qualified for this edition of the African Cup of Nations, could participate in the tournament.
Each team had to register a squad of 23 players (Regulations Article 72).
Only the hosts received an automatic qualification spot, with the other 23 teams qualifying through a qualification tournament. At the finals, the 24 teams were drawn into six groups of four teams each. The teams in each group played a single round robin. After the group stage, the top two teams and the four best third-placed teams advanced to the round of 16. The winners advanced to the quarter-finals. The winners of the quarter-finals advanced to the semi-finals. The losers of the semi-finals played in a third place play-off, while winners of the semi-finals played in the final.
The draw procedure was approved by the CAF Executive Committee on 11 April 2019. For the draw, the teams were allocated to four pots based on the FIFA World Rankings of April 2019 (shown in brackets). Hosts Egypt were automatically assigned to position A1. Defending champions Cameroon were also automatically placed into Pot 1.
Teams were ranked according to points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss), and if tied on points, the following tiebreaking criteria were applied, in the order given, to determine the rankings (Regulations Article 74):
Goals scored in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
If more than two teams were tied, and after applying all head-to-head criteria above, a subset of teams were still tied, all head-to-head criteria above were reapplied exclusively to this subset of teams;
In the knockout stage, extra time and a penalty shoot-out were used to decide the winner if necessary, except for the third place match, where a direct penalty shoot-out, without any extra time, was used to decide the winner if necessary (Regulations Article 75).