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Players With Most AFCON Appearances All Time

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Who are the players with most AFCON appearances in the history of the competition? Thousands of footballers have graced the most prestigious soccer event in Africa, some have done it just once while very few have been to up to eight editions of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Let’s now see all the footballers who have appeared the most times at the AFCON.

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Most AFCON Appearances Players List

Rigobert Song – Cameroon (8)

The former Indomitable Lions’ captain is number one on the list of players with most AFCON appearances. He is one of two players who hold the record for the most AFCON appearance when he graced the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and the 2010 editions. The “Big Chief” as he was fondly called by the Turkish fans, was a part of the Cameroon squads that won the 2000 and 2002 AFCONs.

Ahmed Hassan – Egypt  (8)

As the third most capped international male footballer in history, it’s only natural that he will appear severally for the Pharaohs, appearing at the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 AFCONs. Out of those eight times, he won the tournament four times with Egypt in 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Geremi Njitap – Cameroon  (7)   

The former versatile player earned 118 caps for Cameroon between 1996 when he debuted for the Indomitable Lions to 2010 when he bowed out. In all, he made seven appearances at the AFCON in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010. He was in the squad that won the 2000 and 2002 AFCON titles.

Boubacar Barry – Ivory Coast (7) 

The Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire’s former first-choice goalkeeper is among the players who appeared at the Africa Cup of Nations seven times (2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015) before retiring from international football in 2015.

Siaka Tiéné – Ivory Coast (7) 

With his 96 caps for Côte d’Ivoire, the former left-back is one of the players with most AFCON appearances as he made it to seven AFCONs in 2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2015. He was in the Ivorian squad when the Ivory Coast national team finished as runner-up in 2006 and 2012. He was also in the Ivory Coast 2015 AFCON squad and was even the captain when Ivory Coast won the title in 2015.

Kolo Touré – Ivory Coast (7) 

The former defender is the second-most capped player for the Elephants, with the 120 appearances he has made for the Ivory Coast national team from when he debuted in 2000 till 2015 when he retired from international football. And in all those while, he also made an appearance at the Nations Cup seven times (2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015). He finished as runner-up in the 2006 and 2012 editions with the team and eventually won the title in 2015.

Essam El Hadary – Egypt (7) 

From his debut in 1996, the “High Dam”, as he was referred to then, earned a total of 159 caps with Egypt. He is one of the goalkeepers who made seven appearances for their teams at the AFCON (1998, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2017). He was able to win the Nations Cup four times and was awarded AFCON best goalkeeper thrice.

Hossam Hassan – Egypt (7)

The prolific goalscorer is Egypt’s all-time top scorer with 83 goals in 176 appearances for the Pharaohs. The striker was at seven Africa Cup of Nations tournaments (1986, 1988, 1992, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2006) and was captain of Egypt’s national team at the 2006 AFCON. He was in the different squads that won the 1986, 1998, 2006 AFCON titles.

André Ayew – Ghana (7)

The winger has earned more than 100 caps since he debuted for the Black Stars in 2008. He is the current captain of the Ghana national team and has played in seven Nations Cups so far (2008, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021). Ayew was in the squad that became runner-up in AFCON 2010, 2015; and third place in 2008. He was the Africa Cup of Nations Top Scorer in the 2015 edition.

Asamoah Gyan – Ghana (7)

The former captain is the all-time leading goalscorer of the Black Stars with 51 goals and he is also the top African goalscorer in the history of the World Cup with six goals. He represented Ghana in seven Nations Cups in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019. Gyan was Ghana Player of the Year in 2010 and 2014.

Seidou Keita – Mali (7)

The former versatile midfielder has won up to 102 caps with Mali. He has appeared in seven Africa Cup of Nations tournaments (2002, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015). Keita was able to lead his team to AFCON’s third place twice, in 2012 and 2013.

Youssef Msakni – Tunisia (7)

The winger has so far played 80 matches and scored 15 goals for Tunisia. He has represented the Tunisia national team in seven Africa Cup of Nations in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021. Msakni was in the Eagles of Carthage squad that reached the Africa Cup of Nations fourth place in 2019.

Rabah Madjer – Algeria (6)

The Algeria icon is another star on this list of players with most AFCON appearances. He debuted for the Desert Warriors at the age of 19. Madjer was Algeria’s national team’s top goalscorer at the age of 28 and did so in just 87 caps. He represented the Algeria national team in six Nations Cups in 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1990, and 1992. He won the Africa Cup of Nations in the 1990 edition as the host where they beat Nigeria’s Super Eagles twice, in the opening match 5–1 and the final 1–0.

Mahieddine Meftah – Algeria (6)

The former defender is one of the most capped Algerian player with 77 national caps. Mahieddine “Tchico” Meftah played for Algeria in six Africa Cup of Nations in 1990, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002.

Samuel Eto’o – Cameroon (6)   

The former striker is the African Cup of Nations’ all-time top goalscorer and has graced the tournament six times in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010. He was a part of the squads that won the 2000 and 2002 AFCONs. He won the African Player of the Year a record four times in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010. He is also Cameroon’s all-time top goalscorer. Eto’o is the current president of the Cameroonian Football Federation.

Max Gradel – Ivory Coast (6) 

The Ivorian winger debuted for the Elephants in 2011 and was part of the 2015 team that won the Africa Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament. Max-Alain Gradel appeared in six Nations Cup tournaments with the Ivory Coast national team in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021. He was in the Ivory Coast squad that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015; and the one that got runner-up in 2012.

Salomon Kalou – Ivory Coast (6)    

The former striker is one of the players with most AFCON appearances. He has amassed 93 international caps with the Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire since 2007. Salomon Armand Magloire Kalou has represented Ivory Coast in six Nations Cups (2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017). He was in the Ivorian squad that came runners-up in 2012 and won the continental title in 2015. He won the CAF Young Player of the Year award in 2008.

Yaya Touré – Ivory Coast (6)

The former box-to-box midfielder was voted African Footballer of the Year four times in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. He earned 100 caps for the Ivory Coast from his debut in 2004 till he hung his boot in 2015. He also represented the Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire in six Africa Cup of Nations (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015). Gnégnéri Yaya Touré was in the squads that finished runner-up in 2006 and 2012. He also was the captain of the Ivory Coast national team when they won the 2015 AFCON title.

Didier Zokora – Ivory Coast (6)

The former defensive midfielder is currently Ivory Coast’s most capped player of all time (123 caps) after representing the Ivory Coast national team for 14 years since 2000. He played for Les Elephants in six Nations Cups in 2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2013. He was in the Ivory Coast teams that got the Africa Cup of Nations runner-up in 200 and 2012.

Abdel-Zaher El-Saqqa – Egypt (6)

The former defender won 112 caps for the Egypt national side, scoring 4 goals. Abdel-Zaher El-Saqqa represented the Pharaohs in six Africa Cup of Nations in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2010.

Hany Ramzy – Egypt (6)

Hany Guda Ramzy appeared in a total of six AFCONs (1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002). The former defender once held an Egyptian record as he played five consecutive African Nations Cups in the years 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002. His record has however been broken by teammate Ahmed Hassan, who has played in 8 consecutive African Nations Cups, which is an Egyptian and African record. Ramzy was also named as the Best Defensive Midfielder defender in the 2002 AFCON.

Soumbeïla Diakité – Mali (6)

The Malian former goalkeeper was part of the Mali U-20 team which finished third in the group stage of the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship.[1] He was part of the Malian 2004 Olympic team which exited in the quarter-finals. Diakité played Mal national team in six Nations Cups in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2017.

Noureddine Naybet – Morocco  (6)      

The former central defender was named the 50th greatest African player of all time by the African football expert Ed Dove. Since his first cap on 9 August 1990, Naybet has played a record 115 matches for the Morocco national team scoring four goals. He represented Morocco in six Africa Cup of Nations tournaments in 1992, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006.

Nwankwo Kanu – Nigeria  (6)      

The former striker was a member of the Super Eagles from 1994 when he debuted till 2010 when he retired from international football. Kanu participated in the AFCONs of 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010. He won 86 caps and scored 13 goals for Nigeria. He was joint most capped Nigerian player of all time alongside Muda Lawal until Joseph Yobo surpassed them in 2012. He won the African Footballer of the Year award twice in 1996 and 1999.

Riadh Bouazizi – Tunisia  (6)        

The central midfielder has 83 caps for the Tunisia national team. Riadh Ben-Khemais Bouazizi played at the Africa Cup of Nations six times in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006. He was on the winning Tunisian team at the 2004 AFCON.

Kaies Ghodhbane – Tunisia  (6)              

The former midfielder has 92 caps for the Tunisia national team and played at the African Cup of Nations six times for his country in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006. In addition, he was on the winning Tunisian team at the 2004 AFCON and the team that finished second at the 1996 AFCON.

Aymen Mathlouthi – Tunisia  (6)           

The goalkeeper was chosen by CAF as the best goalkeeper in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. Mathlouthi participated in six editions of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2017. He was named in the substitutes of the 2016 CAF Team of The Year but was the First-Choice Goalkeeper in 2017.

Kalusha Bwalya – Zambia  (6)      

The former winger is the last on the list of players with most AFCON appearances as any number lesser than six appearances will not help this article. He is Zambia’s eighth-most capped player and third all-time top goalscorer. Bwalya, Africa’s most famous “Number 11”, was captain of Zambia when Chipolopolo were the runners-up at the Tunisia 1994 African Nations Cup—where they succumbed to the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Bwalya played in six AFCONs (1986, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000). He was the 1996 AFCON Top Scorer.

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