2012 Africa Cup of Nations

The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, also known as the Orange Africa Cup of Nations for sponsorship reasons, was the 28th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the football championship of Africa organized by the Confederation of African Football.
The competition took place between 21 January and 12 February 2012 and was co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The bidding process for hosting the tournament ended in September 2006.
The matches were played in [|four stadiums] in four host cities, with the final played at the newly built Stade d'Angondjé in Gabon's largest city, Libreville. Fourteen teams were selected for participation via a continental qualification tournament that began in July 2010.
The 2012 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations took place against the backdrop of political turmoil. Libya and Tunisia qualified for the tournament, even as the Arab Spring brought upheaval and regime change to both nations. Traditional African footballing nations such as reigning champions Egypt, as well as Cameroon, Algeria, Nigeria and South Africa had failed to qualify. Players from third-placed Mali had pleaded for the insurgency in the north of their country to end.
In the [|first round] of the tournament finals, the teams competed in round-robin groups of four teams for points, with the top two teams in each group proceeding. These eight teams advanced to the knockout stage, where three rounds of play decided which teams would participate in the final. Both host nations, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, were eliminated from the competition at the quarter final stage.
In the final, unfancied Zambia, defeated third-time finalists Ivory Coast after a dramatic penalty shootout in the final, despite the fact that Ivory Coast did not concede a single goal during the entire tournament, giving Zambia their first continental title. The Zambian team dedicated their win to the members of the national team who died in a plane crash near the final's venue in Libreville in 1993.

Host selection

Bids :
Rejected Bids :
On 4 September 2006, the Confederation of African Football approved a compromise between rival countries to host the Africa Cup of Nations after it ruled out Nigeria. CAF agreed to award the next three editions from 2010 to Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Libya respectively. They assigned Angola in 2010, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, which submitted a joint bid in 2012, and Libya for 2014.
This edition was awarded to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea to rotate the hosting of the cup and give hosting chance for first-timer nations.
Two-time former host Nigeria is the reserve host for the 2010, 2012, and 2014 tournaments, in the event that any of the host countries fails to meet the requirements established by CAF.
The 2014 tournament was pushed forward to 2013 and subsequently held in odd-numbered years to avoid year-clash with the FIFA World Cup.


The qualification process involved ten groups of four, one of which was reduced to a group of three after the withdrawal of Mauritania, and one group of five. The top team from each group goes through, as well as the second placed team from the group of five. The two best second place teams also qualify. At the end of the qualification process, fourteen teams would have qualified, as well as the two host nations. The first qualifiers were held on [|1] July 2010.

Qualified teams

CountryQualified asQualification dateAppearance in finalsPrevious best performanceRegional bodyFIFA ranking1Continental ranking1
JWGroup J Winner048 October 2011066th40Quarterfinals COSAFA8519
KWGroup K Winner0126 March 2011011st20noneCOSAFA9421
FWGroup F Winner033 September 2011088th50Fourth place WAFU6614
HWGroup H Winner025 June 20111919th80Winner WAFU181
AACo-host0029 July 2007011st20noneUNIFFAC15141
AACo-host0029 July 2007055th30Quarterfinals UNIFFAC9120
IWGroup I Winner048 October 20111818th90Winner WAFU262
BWGroup B Winner048 October 20111010th60Second place WAFU7917
RU Top Two Runner-Up048 October 2011033rd60Second place UNAF6313
AWGroup A Winner048 October 2011077th60Second place WAFU6915
DWGroup D Winner059 October 20111414th80Winner UNAF6112
GWGroup G Winner048 October 2011011st20noneWAFU9822
EWGroup E Winner033 September 20111212th60Second place WAFU435
RU Top Two Runner-Up059 October 2011088th80Winner CECAFA12030
KXGroup K Runner-up048 October 20111515th80Winner UNAF5910
CWGroup C Winner048 October 20111515th70Second place COSAFA7116



were initially banned from the 2012 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments by CAF after they withdrew from the 2010 tournament following an attack on their team bus. Togo appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with FIFA president Sepp Blatter stepping in to mediate. The ban was subsequently lifted with immediate effect on 14 May 2010, after a meeting of the CAF Executive Committee. Togo were therefore free to play in the 2012 and 2013 qualifiers.


On 30 June 2010, after Nigeria's exit from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan punished the team for a poor campaign by imposing a two-year ban from international competition. This would have resulted in the Nigerians missing out on both the 2012 qualifying phase and the 2012 African Cup of Nations. However, on 5 July, the Nigerian government dropped the ban after FIFA threatened to impose harsher international sanctions as a result of the government interference. Nigeria competed in qualifying for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations as scheduled but failed to qualify.


The opening match, one semi-final and the third place match were held in Equatorial Guinea, while the other semi-final and the final were held in Gabon.

Bata, Equatorial Guinea
Libreville, Gabon
Estadio de Bata
Stade d'Angondjé
Capacity: 37,500
Capacity: 40,000

Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Franceville, Gabon
Nuevo Estadio de Malabo
Stade de Franceville
Capacity: 15,250
Capacity: 22,000


The draw for the final tournament took place on 29 October 2011 at the Sipopo Conference Palace in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The draw ceremony was attended by the two presidents from the host countries, President Ali Bongo of Gabon and President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea. The draw saw the 16 qualified teams being pitted into four groups of four teams each. The two top teams from each group will qualify for the quarter finals with the winners progressing to the semi finals and final eventually.
The two hosts were automatically seeded into pot 1. The other 14 qualified teams were ranked based on their performances during the previous three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. For each of the last three African Cup of Nations final tournaments, the following system of points is adopted for the qualified countries:
ClassificationPoints awarded
Losing semi-finalists3
Losing quarter-finalists2
Eliminated in 1st round1

Moreover, a weighted coefficient on points was given to each of the last three editions of the Africa Cup of Nations as follows:
The teams were then divided into four pots based on the ranking. Each group contained one team from each pot.
Pot 1Pot 2Pot 3Pot 4

Match officials

The following referees were chosen for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.

Mohamed Benouza
Djamel Haimoudi
Néant Alioum
Noumandiez Doué
Gehad Grisha
Eric Otogo-Castane
Bakary Gassama
Hamada Nampiandraza
Koman Coulibaly
Ali Lemghaifry
Rajindraparsad Seechurn
Bouchaïb El Ahrach
Badara Diatta
Eddy Maillet
Daniel Bennett
Khalid Abdel Rahman
Slim Jedidi
Janny Sikazwe

Albdelhak Etchiali
Jean-Claude Birumushahu
Evarist Menkouande
Yanoussa Moussa
Richard Bouende-Malonga
Songuifolo Yeo
Angesom Ogbamariam
Theophile Vinga
Aboubacar Doumbouya
Marwa Range
Moffat Champiti
Balla Diarra
Balkrishna Bootun
Redouane Achik
David Shaanika
Peter Edibe
Felicien Kabanda
Djibril Camara
Jason Damoo
Zakhele Siwela
Bechir Hassani


Each team's squad for the tournament consisted of 23 players; only players in these squads were eligible to take part in the tournament. Each participating national association had to submit their squad by 11 January 2012. Replacement of seriously injured players was permitted until 24 hours before the team in question's first match of the tournament.

Group stage

Groups A and B took place in Equatorial Guinea, while Groups C and D were held in Gabon. Notably, there was not a single goalless draw during the group stage.

Tie-breaking criteria

If two or more teams end the group stage with the same number of points, their ranking is determined by the following criteria:
  1. points earned in the matches between the teams concerned;
  2. goal difference in the matches between the teams concerned;
  3. number of goals scored in the matches between the teams concerned;
  4. goal difference in all group matches;
  5. number of goals scored in all group matches;
  6. fair play points system taking into account the number of yellow and red cards;
  7. drawing of lots by the organising committee.
Key to colours in group tables
Top two placed teams advanced to the [|quarterfinals]

All times are West Africa Time.

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Knockout stage





Third place match



;3 goals
;2 goals
;1 goal
;Own goal

By sub-region


The mascot for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations was unveiled on 16 September 2011 at a ceremony in Libreville, Gabon. The mascot, named Gaguie, is a gorilla sporting the national team colors of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

Match ball

The official match ball for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, manufactured by Adidas, was the Comoequa. The name was inspired by the Komo River, which runs through the host nations, and the Equator, which runs throughout Africa and unites the host nations.