10 Most Successful National Football Teams in Africa

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The most successful national football team in Africa depends on the number of titles it has won in the biggest tournament for African football teams. And this is the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). Certainly, qualifying for the world cup and having a healthy FIFA ranking is important, but we’ll evaluate them by their performance in the continental tournament. 

Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and DR Congo make the list. Which other teams are there? 

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10. Senegal

10 Most Successful National Football Teams in Africa
Senegal national football team. Image Source: Instagram

This list of the most successful football teams in Africa wouldn’t be complete without the Lions of Teranga. This team is always full of talent but at times, it just doesn’t perform to expectation. Their only AFCON win came in 2021 after losing two finals, 2002 and 2019.

They’ve been to three world cups, with a round of 16 as their best finish. Senegal is ranked second in Africa and 19th in the world.

9. Tunisia 

10 Most Successful National Football Teams in Africa
Tunisia national football team. Image Source: Instagram 

The Carthage Eagles’ only win of the AFCON title came in 2004. They’ve been to six world cups, all ending in a group-stage finish. Tunisia is ranked 3rd in Africa and 30th in the world.

8. Zambia

10 Most Successful National Football Teams in Africa
Zambia national football team. Image Source: Instagram 0

Despite only winning one AFCON title, Zambia’s reputation throughout continental football remains high. They made it into the next two editions but missed out on the last. The Chipolopolo has never been to the world cup. They are in the 86th position in the FIFA World ranking.

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7. DR Congo

10 Most Successful National Football Teams in Africa
DR Congo national football team. Image Source: Instagram 

We don’t often hear about DR Congo regarding football, but they have some good history to look back on. They’ve scooped the continental title twice (1968 & 1974). In 1974, their best finish was third place when Equatorial Guinea hosted the tournament. DR Congo is ranked 74th in the world. 

6. Algeria

10 Most Successful National Football Teams in Africa
Algeria national football team. Image Source: Instagram 

In recent years, Algeria has risen to become one of the best teams in the continent. They have won AFCON only two times (1990 & 2019)but from what they are doing, they will be able to scoop more in the coming years. 

The North African nation has played in the world cup four times (1982, 1986, 2010, and 2014). Algeria is ranked 40th in the world and 7th in Africa. 

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5. Ivory Coast

10 Most Successful National Football Teams in Africa
Ivory Coast national football team. Image Source: Instagram 

Ivory Coast has been the champion of Africa twice – in 1992 and 2015. Since then, the furthest they’ve gone is the quarter-finals in 2019. The Elephants have been to the world cup thrice – 2006, 2010, and 2014. 

The team has produced some of the best players in the continent, like Didier Drogba, the Toure brothers – Yaya and Kolo, and Solomon Kalou.

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4. Nigeria

10 Most Successful National Football Teams in Africa
Nigeria football team. Image Source: Instagram 

The Super Eagles are the fourth most successful national football team in Africa. They have three AFCON titles to their name. 

They were winners in 1980, 1994, and 2013. Since then, Nigeria has missed two tournaments – 2015 & 2017, and finished in third in 2019 and the round of 16 in 2021.

The West African football giant has appeared at the World Cup six times – 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014, and 2018. Their best-ever finish is the round of 16 which they achieved three times. 

3. Ghana

10 Most Successful National Football Teams in Africa
Ghana national football team. Image Source: Instagram 

The Black Stars are four-time winners of the AFCON title, having won their first in 1963. The last time they won the title was in 1982, and they’re yet to recapture continental glory. And this is despite the depth of talent they have in the team. 

Ghana has played at the World Cup four times – 2022, 2014, 2010, and 2006 – with their best finish coming at the 2010 tournament. They played Uruguay in the quarter-finals and lost after a missed penalty by Asamoah Gyan. 

Currently, the Black Stars are ranked 58th globally and 11th in Africa.

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2. Cameroon

The Indomitable Lions are the second most successful national football team in Africa. They’ve won five titles at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). Their first came in 1984 after a 3-1 over Nigeria and then won it again in 1988, 2000, 2002, and 2017

Cameroon has represented the continent in eight FIFA World Cup finals on the global stage. They were the first CAF nation to play in the quarter-final stage in 1982. They beat Argentina, Colombia, and Romania. 

1. Egypt

Egypt is the most successful national football team in Africa. It has won 7 Africa Cup of Nations titles, which is the most that any team in the continent has won. 

The “Pharaohs” have also played in the most number of finals – 26 out of the 34 that have occurred. They’ve been to 10 finals, again, the most of any country here. 

Regarding the world cup, The Pharaohs have played only 3 in 2018, 1990, and 1934. Currently, they are ranked 39th in the FIFA World ranking and 6th in the CAF rankings.

The next edition of the Africa Cup of Nations is around the corner. Which of the teams listed above do you think will lift the title? Will any of them ever catch up to Egypt?  

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