How many national football teams are in Africa?

Nancy Marende

Africa has a total of 54 recognised sovereign states. Every country in Africa has a national football team. 

All 54 national football teams in Africa have the opportunity to participate in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and FIFA Cups -respectively.

African national football teams

Below are all the African national football teams.

AlgeriaEritreaMali
AngolaEswatini (formerly Swaziland)Mauritania
BeninEthiopiaMauritius
BeninGabonMorocco
Botswana GambiaMozambique
Burkina Faso GhanaNamibia
BurundiGuineaNiger
Cape VerdeGabonNigeria
CameroonGambiaRwanda
CARGhanaSão Tomé and Príncipe
ChadGuineaSenegal
ComorosGuinea-BissauSeychelles
CongoKenyaSierra Leone
Democratic Republic of the CongoLesothoSomalia
Côte d’IvoireLiberiaSouth Africa
DjiboutiLibya South Sudan
EgyptMadagascar Sudan
Equatorial GuineaMalawiTanzania

The Confederation of African Football (CAF)

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is the governing body that regulates and oversees African football activities.

Since its formation in 1957, CAF has been crucial in promoting and organising football competitions across the continent.

CAF hosts the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON, Africa’s premier international tournament, which features national teams from the region.

AFCON 2021
AFCON 2021 opening ceremony

Fourteen national football teams have won the AFCON title so far from 33 finals. Egypt, the most successful team in AFCON, has lifted seven of these titles.

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Morocco comes second with five titles.

Africa Cup of Nations winners

YearWinnersRunners-up
1957EgyptEthiopia
1959EgyptSudan
1962EthiopiaEgypt
1963GhanaSudan
1965GhanaTunisia
1968DR CongoGhana
1970SudanGhana
1972CongoMali
1974DR CongoZambia
1976MoroccoGuinea
1978GhanaUganda
1980NigeriaAlgeria
1982GhanaLibya
1984CameroonNigeria
1986EgyptCameroon
1988CameroonNigeria
1990AlgeriaNigeria
1992Ivory CoastGhana
1994NigeriaZambia
1996South AfricaTunisia
1998EgyptSouth Africa
2000CameroonNigeria
2002CameroonSenegal
2004TunisiaMorocco
2006EgyptIvory Coast
2008EgyptCameroon
2010EgyptGhana
2012ZambiaIvory Coast
2013NigeriaBurkina Faso
2015Ivory CoastGhana
2017CameroonEgypt
2019AlgeriaSenegal
2021SenegalEgypt

How many teams qualify for AFCON & CHAN?

AFCON has a total of 16 teams. These 16 teams are grouped into four categories. Each winning pair from the four categories proceed to the elimination match.

Eight teams per group will qualify to play in the tournament. This brings the total to 24 slots.

The African Nations Championship (CHAN) was launched in 2009, and the first edition was hosted in Côte d’Ivoire. The biennial football tournament alternates with AFCON.

Participation in CHAN is limited to players who play in the domestic leagues in their home country.

The 2023 African Nations Championship was held earlier this year in Algeria. The tournament featured 18 teams. Senegal beat Algeria in a penalty shootout.

Fun Fact: In 2020, Morocco became the first nation to win the CHAN title twice consecutively after the team beat Mali 2-0 in the final.

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How many teams does FIFA recognise?

FIFA is affiliated with 211 national men’s football and 129 national women’s football teams across the world.

Which national football teams are not recognised by FIFA?

FIFA

FIFA does not recognize a total of seven national football teams. These teams are from countries that the UN does not recognise:

  • Abkhazia
  • Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh)
  •  Northern Cyprus
  • South Ossetia
  •  Transnistria
  •  Western Sahara

The only African football team that is a non-FIFA member is Somaliland. As a country, Somaliland is not eligible to be a member of either CAF or FIFA. They are, however, a member of CONIFA.

The Zanzibar and Reunion football teams are not recognised by FIFA, despite being members of confederations connected to the football federation.

The two countries are dependent territories of Tanzania and France-respectively.

Fun Fact: The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) is the football federation for all associations outside FIFA. The organisation was formed in 2013. Somaliland got its membership in 2015.

Why are Kenya and Zimbabwe banned from AFCON 2023?

Last year, the Zimbabwe and Kenyan national teams were barred from participating in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. CAF announced reports of government interference in football activities in the two countries.

The ban will prevent the two countries from participating in international football tournaments.

How many times have African national football teams participated in the World Cup?

World Cup trophy
World Cup trophy. Image: Unsplash /Andy Macfarlane

Since the formation of the World Cup in 1930, 13 African national football teams have participated in the international tournament.

Egypt was the first African country to play in the World Cup in 1934.

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Football teamFrequency of participation
in the World Cup
Cameroon7
Nigeria6
Morocco5
Tunisia5
Algeria4
Ivory Coast3
Egypt3
Ghana3
South Africa3
Senegal2
Zaire1
Angola1
Togo1

Africa has reached as far as the quarter-finals of the World Cup three times. Cameroon was the first in 1990, followed by Senegal in 1998 and Ghana in 2010.

To date, the Morocco national football team is the first to ever make the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2022.

How many teams qualify for the world cup?

African national football teams have 5 slots in the World Cup. During the 2022 World Cup, 5 of the 32 participating teams were African football teams: Cameroon, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana, and Senegal.

FIFA voted on and passed an increase in the number of teams playing from 32 to 48. The 2026 World Cup will have 48 teams playing. More teams mean additional slots for all six regions.

Africa has been allocated an additional 4 slots, bringing the total to 9. Below are the other additional slots per region:

RegionSlots in the World Cup
Asia(+4) 8 slots
North, Central America, and the Caribbean(+3) 6 slots
Europe(+3) 16 slots
South America(+2) 6 slots
Oceania(+1) 2 slots

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