Completesportsnigeria.com's JAMES AGBEREBI chronicles how CAF has increased the number of participating teams in the Africa Cup of Nations since the inception of the tournament in 1957.
SUDAN 1957 AFCON (Three Teams)
Only. three Nations participated in the first ever Africa Cup of Nations in Sudan in 1957.
The teams were hosts Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia.
South Africa were suppose to be part of the maiden edition but were disqualified due to aparthied.
Egypt went on to win the tournament after thrashing Ethiopia 4-0 in the final.
ETHIOPIA 1962 AFCON (Four Teams)
In the third edition in Ethiopia in 1962, the number of participating teams increased from three to four.
Defending champions Egypt and hosts Ethiopia, were joined by debutants Uganda and Tunisia.
Ethiopia usurped Egypt as champions following a 4-2 final win against the Pharaohs.
The third place match was won by Tunisia who trounced Uganda 3-0.
GHANA 1963 AFCON (Six Teams)
When Ghana hosted the 1963 AFCON, the number of teams was expanded to six.
Nigeria, who made their debut, joined hosts Ghana, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt and Tunisia for the fourth edition.
Hosts Ghana were the eventual champions following a convincing 3-0 win against Sudan, while Ethiopia also defeated Sudan 3-0 to finish third.
ETHIOPIA 1968 AFCON (Eight Teams)
The 1968 AFCON was hosted by Ethiopia (second time) and for the first time, the number of teams was expanded to eight.
The eight countries that took part at the 1968 AFCON were hosts Ethiopia, Algeria, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire and Uganda.
In the final, DRC stunned Ghana 1-0 to claim their first ever AFCON title.
The third place match was between Cote d'Ivoire and Ethiopia with the former triumphing 1-0.
SENEGAL 1992 AFCON (12 Teams)
For 11 AFCON editions (1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990) eight teams took part until it was increased to 12 at the 1992 edition in Senegal.
Senegal, Algeria, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Zaire and Zambia were the countries who took part in the 12-team format.
One of the favourites, Ghana lost 11-10 on penalties to Cote d'Ivoire in a pulsating final.
The third place match was between Nigeria and arch-rival Cameroon which ended 2-1 in favour of Nigeria.
SOUTH AFRICA 1996 AFCON (16 Teams)
For the 1996 AFCON in South Africa, CAF decided once again to increase the number of teams participating hencing expanding it to 16.
Unfortunately, Nigeria, who were champions back then, pulled out due to political reasons thereby reducing the number of teams for that edition to 15.
With Nigeria out of the tournament, the 15 countries who took part included hosts South Africa , Ghana, Cameroon, DRC, Gabon, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Zambia, Angola, Mozambique, Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso.
Hosts South Africa were crowned champions following a 2-0 win against Tunisia with Zambia pipping Ghana 1-0 in the third place encounter.
CAMEROON 2019 AFCON (24 Teams)
The Executive Committee of CAF, on Thursday August 17 2017, increased the number of countries that will be participating in the Africa Cup of Nations from 16 to 24.
The expansion will take effect from the 2019 edition which will be hosted by Cameroon.
Also, the committee changed the timing of the AFCON from January/February to June/July.