On 14th January, 2017, the 31st edition of the international men’s football championship of Africa known as The 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, Total Africa Cup of Nations or Gabon 2017 (also referred to as AFCON 2017 or CAN 2017) will kick off.
The tournament was scheduled to be hosted by Libya until CAF rescinded its hosting rights in August 2014 due to a Political unrest in the country. The tournament would instead be hosted by Gabon.
The winner of the 2017 African Cup of Nations will qualify for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. This event is also part of the Africa Cup of Nations 60th Anniversary.
This is the highest level of international competition organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
A total of 52 teams were entered into the tournament, including the host (Gabon), which qualified automatically for the final tournament. The draw for the qualification stage took place on 8 April 2015, immediately after the announcement of the host nation, originally scheduled at 12:30 UTC+2 at the Marriott ‘Zamalek’ Hotel in Cairo, Egypt but delayed to 15:00.
The host nation team will also be drawn into a group and will play games against those in that group; however, these matches will only be considered as friendlies and not counted for the standings.
51 nations entered the qualifying stage with Eritrea and Somalia declining to enter.
Due to the cancellation of Morocco being hosts of the 2015 edition, the national team of Morroco were originally banned by the CAF to enter the 2017 and 2019 Africa Cups of Nations. However, the ban was overturned by the Court of Arbitration of Sports ( CAS), meaning Morocco may enter the tournament.
A total of 16 teams qualified to play in the final tournament, including Gabon who qualified automatically as hosts.
Group A : Gabon (Host), Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau
Group B : Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal and Zimbabwe
Group C : Ivory Coast, DR Congo, Morocco and Togo
Group D : Ghana, Mali Egypt and Uganda.
MATCHES AND HOST CITIES
A total of 32 matches will be played in four cities.
The Cities and Venues are ; Group A would be based in Libreville and play at the Stade de l’Amitie.
Group B would also be based in Franceville and the Stade de Franceville would be their venue.
Group C would be in the city of Oyem and play at the Stade of Oyem.
Group D would be welcome by the citizens of Port- Gentil and would also play at Stade Port-Gentil
The host Nation, Gabon will kick start the tournament on 14th January, 2017 with West African side Guinea- Bissau at 15:00 GMT in the country’s capital of Libreville’ s Stade de l’Amitie. This is the début tournament for Guinea- Bissau.
Each group winner and runner up will qualify for the knock-out stages.
In July 2016, Total has secured an eight-year sponsorship package from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to support 10 of its principal competitions. Total will start with the Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Gabon therefore renaming it Total Africa cup of Nations.