Soccer: African Nations Cup. Stats of championship

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Soccer: African Nations Cup. Stats of championship

Soccer: Countdown to the African Nations Cup finals on Sunday January 31, 2010. Facts and stats of African Nations Cup championships, 1957-2010

Special to USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine, Houston

On Sunday, January 31, 2010, the much anticipated African Nations Cup final showdown between Egypt and Ghana will hold in Luanda, Angola. Koman Coulibaly of Mali will referee Sunday’s match. As the world awaits the outcome of what promises to be a clash of talents, USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine, share a compilation of facts and milestones of the championship by Thomsonreuters:

* Sunday’s final is the 27th of the continental championship, first played in 1957 in Sudan when Egypt won.

* It will be an eighth Nations Cup final for both Egypt and Ghana. Defending champions Egypt have won a record six times, with Ghana winning four.

* Egypt are seeking to become the first country to win it three times in a row.

* Ghana have not reached the final since 1992 when they lost to Ivory Coast on penalties. Their last Nations Cup success was in 1982.

* Only twice in the last seven Nations Cup tournaments has the host nation won the final—Tunisia in 2004 and Egypt in 2006. This year’s host Angola went out in the quarter-finals.

* Nine previous Nations Cup finals have gone into extra time. The last was in 2006 when Egypt went on to beat Ivory Coast on penalties.

* Penalties have settled six Nations Cup finals, with Ivory Coast’s 11-10 win on spot kicks in 1992 being the longest shootout.

* Egypt hold the record for the largest winning margin in a final, beating Ethiopia 4-0 in their first final in 1957.

* Captain Ahmed Hassan will become the first player to win four Nations Cup finals if Egypt win on Sunday. Goalkeeper Essam Al Hadari also has three previous winners medals but was reserve for Egypt’s 2-0 win over South Africa in 1998.

* Egypt coach Hassan Shehata has never lost a match in the Nations Cup. His two successes in 2006 and 2008 are matched only by CK Gyamfi, coach of Ghana’s winning teams in 1963 and 1965.

* Egypt striker Mohamed Diba El Attar scored all four goals in the first Nations Cup final and 11 years later was the referee for the 1968 decider, won by Congo-Kinshasa in Ethiopia. By Mark Gleeson and Neil Maidmen/Thomsonreuters