2015 Africa Cup of Nations
The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, known as the Orange Africa Cup of Nations, Equatorial Guinea 2015 for sponsorship reasons, was the 30th staging of the Africa Cup of Nations, the international men’s football championship of Africa. It was organized by the Confederation of African Football and was held from 17 January to 8 February 2015.
The tournament was initially scheduled to be hosted by Morocco who later demanded postponement of the event because of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa; subsequently Morocco was ruled out as a host country and replaced by Equatorial Guinea.
The Ivory Coast won the tournament for their second Africa Cup of Nations title, defeating Ghana 9–8 in a penalty shoot-out after the final finished goalless following extra time. The DR Congo came third and the hosts Equatorial Guinea fourth, while defending champions Nigeria did not qualify.
CAF received 3 bids before 30 September 2010, the deadline, to host either the 2015 or 2017 Africa Cup of Nations from DR Congo, Morocco and South Africa. All three bids were originally put on a shortlist. CAF then began an inspection procedure, on November and December 2010, intending to visit each bidding country to view stadiums, infrastructure, and football interest. They inspected the DR Congo first. Shortly after the inspection, DR Congo informed CAF that they would be withdrawing their bids for both the 2015 and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. Morocco was the next country to be inspected, with CAF visiting the country in early November 2010. South Africa was inspected in December 2010.
On 29 January, during the 2011 CAF Super Cup, the CAF Board decided that Morocco would host the 2015 African Cup of Nations, while the 2017 edition would be held in South Africa. The four Morocco host cities which were scheduled to host the tournament were Rabat, Marrakesh, Agadir and Tangier, as announced by the CAF Executive Committee on 23 September 2013. Casablanca would serve as an alternative venue.
Moroccan withdrawalIn October 2014, the government of Morocco requested a postponement of the tournament due to the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. After the matter was discussed at the Executive Committee meeting on [|2] November 2014, CAF decided to keep the date of the tournament, while also asking for a clarification from the Royal Moroccan Football Federation of whether they still wish to host the tournament. On 8 November, Morocco failed to meet this deadline to confirm it would host the tournament. Three days later CAF confirmed that Morocco would not host the tournament and a new host would be chosen from a list of countries which have expressed interest. Morocco, who had previously qualified as hosts, were disqualified from participation at the tournament. CAF confirmed legal action against Morocco due to a contract signed in April 2014. Moroccan Sports Minister Mohamed Ouzzine said that CAF had falsely accused his country of "refusing" to host the tournament when it wanted it postponed, and justified the decision by citing that the World Health Organization gives every country the right to protect its citizens. On 6 February 2015, CAF announced that Morocco had been banned from the next two AFCON tournaments, fined [|1] million US dollars, as well as demanding 9 million US dollars in compensation. However, the ban was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, meaning Morocco may enter the tournaments.
Egypt, Ghana, South Africa and Sudan all declined to take over as hosts. Angola, the hosts of the 2010 edition, were spoken of as a potential replacement due to existing stadia and infrastructure in the country. However, a member of the Angolan Football Federation stated that it could not be possible as the new government budget did not include any tournaments.
On 14 November 2014, CAF announced that Equatorial Guinea would host the tournament.
QualificationQualification for the tournament were made up of four stages, three preliminary rounds and a final group stage. The 21 best-ranked teams were given a bye to the group stage, while the next 26 teams began play in the second preliminary round, and four lowest ranked teams started at the first round. The three preliminary rounds were a series of playoffs, with the winners advancing.
51 nations entered the tournament. It was the competitive debut of South Sudan. Djibouti and Somalia declined to enter.
Morocco would have automatically qualified as hosts; however, after their refusal to host, they were expelled from the tournament by the CAF. Equatorial Guinea was chosen as the new host, and despite having played in the qualifiers and been disqualified due to fielding an ineligible player, they qualified for the tournament automatically.
The defending champions Nigeria failed to qualify for the tournament.
Qualified teamsThe following sixteen teams qualified for the tournament.
|Country||Qualified as||Qualified on||Previous appearance in tournament1–2|
VenuesThe four Equatorial Guinean cities selected to host the tournament were Malabo, Bata, Mongomo and Ebebiyín.
Malabo and Bata were also host venues for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
Screening for Ebola was given to all spectators attending matches.
|Estadio de Bata||Nuevo Estadio de Malabo||Estadio de Mongomo||Estadio Mannuel Enguru|
|Capacity: 41,000||Capacity: 15,250||Capacity: 15,000||Capacity: 8,000|
FormatOnly the hosts got an automatic qualification spot, the other 15 teams qualified through qualification tournament. At the finals, the 16 teams were drawn into four groups of four teams each. The teams in each group played a single round robin. After the group stage, the top two teams from each group advanced to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinal winners advanced to the semifinals. The semifinal losers played in the third place match, while the semifinal winners played in the final.
DrawThe finals draw was held on 3 December 2014 in Malabo. It was initially to be held on 26 November 2014 in Rabat before the change of host country.
The 16 teams were divided into four pots based on the CAF Ranking, with the hosts Equatorial Guinea placed in Pot 1 automatically. The ranking was computed using the teams' results in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals and qualifiers, the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations finals and qualifiers, the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations finals, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
|Pot 1||Pot 2||Pot 3||Pot 4|
Match officialsThe following referees were chosen for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
- Mehdi Abid Charef
- Juste Ephrem Zio
- Néant Alioum
- Noumandiez Doué
- Gehad Grisha
- Bamlak Tessema Weyesa
- Eric Otogo-Castane
- Bakary Gassama
- Joseph Lamptey
- Aboubacar Mario Bangoura
- Hamada Nampiandraza
- Koman Coulibaly
- Ali Lemghaifry
- Rajindraparsad Seechurn
- Bouchaïb El Ahrach
- Malang Diedhiou
- Bernard Camille
- Victor Gomes
- Med Said Kordi
- Janny Sikazwe
- Albdelhak Etchiali
- Jerson Emiliano Dos Santos
- Jean-Claude Birumushahu
- Oamogetse Godisamang
- Evarist Menkouande
- Yéo Songuifolo
- Hassan Egueh Yacin
- Tahssen Abo El Sadat Bedyer
- Angesom Ogbamariam
- Malik Alidu Salifu
- Aboubacar Doumbouya
- Marwa Range
- Redouane Achik
- Yahaya Mahamadou
- Peter Edibe
- Theogene Ndagijimana
- Djibril Camara
- El Hadji Malick Samba
- Zakhele Siwela
- Ali Waleed Ahmed
- Anouar Hmila
Group stageThe group winners and runners-up advance to the quarter-finals.
The teams are ranked according to points. If tied on points, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
- Number of points obtained in games between the teams concerned;
- Goal difference in games between the teams concerned;
- Goals scored in games between the teams concerned;
- If, after applying criteria 1 to 3 to teams concerned, two or three teams still have an equal ranking, criteria 1 to 3 are reapplied exclusively to the matches between these teams in question to determine their final rankings. If this procedure does not lead to a decision, criteria 5 to 7 will apply;
- Goal difference in all games;
- Goals scored in all games;
- Drawing of lots.
Group DGuinea and Mali finished level on the second spot after the group stage, making the first drawing of lots needed at the tournament since 1988. Unlike some other international tournaments, 2015 Africa Cup of Nations tournament regulations would not use fair-play criteria or a penalty shoot-out after the teams met on the last match day to determine the final group ranking. Both head coaches have openly criticised the regulations.
Knockout stageIn the knockout stages, if a match is level at the end of normal playing time, extra time shall be played and followed, if necessary, by kicks from the penalty mark to determine the winner, except for the play-off for third place where no extra time shall be played.
On 27 January 2015, the CAF announced that they had relocated the venues of two of the quarter-finals:
- The venue of quarter-final 2 is relocated from Nuevo Estadio de Ebebiyín, Ebebiyín to Estadio de Bata, Bata.
- The venue of quarter-final 3 is relocated from Estadio de Mongomo, Mongomo to Nuevo Estadio de Malabo, Malabo.
Scores after extra time are indicated by, and penalty shoot-out are indicated by.
All times local, WAT.
- Nabil Bentaleb
- Faouzi Ghoulam
- Riyad Mahrez
- Islam Slimani
- El Arbi Hillel Soudani
- Aristide Bancé
- Benjamin Moukandjo
- Ambroise Oyongo
- Férébory Doré
- Fabrice Ondama
- Prince Oniangue
- Yannick Bolasie
- Joël Kimwaki
- Emilio Nsue
- Ibán Edú
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
- Malick Evouna
- Kwesi Appiah
- Jordan Ayew
- John Boye
- Asamoah Gyan
- Wakaso Mubarak
- Kévin Constant
- Ibrahima Traoré
- Mohamed Yattara
- Seydou Doumbia
- Wilfried Kanon
- Yaya Touré
- Bakary Sako
- Modibo Maïga
- Sambou Yatabaré
- Mame Biram Diouf
- Kara Mbodj
- Moussa Sow
- Oupa Manyisa
- Mandla Masango
- Thuso Phala
- Yassine Chikhaoui
- Mohamed Ali Moncer
- Emmanuel Mayuka
- Given Singuluma
- Thulani Hlatshwayo
- André Ayew
|Player name||Games played||Goals scored||Assists||Minutes played||Source|
;Orange Man of the Competition
- Christian Atsu
- Christian Atsu vs. Guinea
- Kwesi Appiah
;CAF Team of the Tournament
| Sylvain Gbohouo|
| Serge Aurier|
| André Ayew|
| Christian Atsu|
DisciplineIn the final tournament, a player was suspended for the subsequent match in the competition for either getting red card or accumulating two yellow cards in two different matches. The disciplinary panel has the ability to increase the automatic one match ban for a red card. Single yellow card cautions were erased at the conclusion of the group stage, and were not carried over to the knockout stage. The following players were or are suspended during the final tournament – for one or more games – as a result of red cards or yellow card accumulations:
|Florent Rouamba||Carried over from qualification||Group A vs Gabon|
|Donashano Malama||Carried over from qualification||Group B vs DR Congo|
|Eric Mathoho||Carried over from qualification||Group C vs Algeria|
|Reneilwe Letsholonyane||Carried over from qualification||Group C vs Algeria|
|Seydouba Soumah||Carried over from qualification||Group D vs Ivory Coast|
|Gervinho||vs Guinea||Group D vs Mali|
Group D vs Cameroon
|Diosdado Mbele|| vs Congo|
vs Burkina Faso
|Group A vs Gabon|
|Boris Moubhibo|| vs Equatorial Guinea|
|Group A vs Burkina Faso|
|Cheick Tioté|| vs Guinea|
|Group D vs Cameroon|
|Naby Yattara||vs Ghana||Africa Cup of Nations qualifying|
|Ibán|| vs Tunisia|
|Third place play-off vs DR Congo|
Tournament team rankingsAs per statistical convention in football, matches decided in extra time are counted as wins and losses, while matches decided by penalty shoot-outs are counted as draws.
SponsorshipThe 2015 Africa Cup of Nations has one title sponsor and seven official sponsors as shown below.
|Title sponsor||Official sponsors|
Match ballThe new Adidas Africa Cup Ball is called Adidas Marhaba. The Africa Cup 2015 Ball was unveiled 26 November 2014 following the controversy about the host situation for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
MascotThe official mascot of the tournament was "Chuku Chuku", a porcupine.
Opening ceremonyThe opening ceremony of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations took place on 17 January, at the Estadio de Bata, before the opening match of the tournament between hosts Equatorial Guinea and Congo.
Drawing of lotsGuinea and Mali finished with equal records in Group D, thus the drawing of lots was required to choose who would advance into the quarter-finals. Prior to the draw, Mali coach Henri Kasperczak said that the tournament "must find a more sporting way , fairer...This does not correspond to a sporting spirit". His Guinean counterpart Michel Dussuyer said that neither team deserved to be eliminated in that manner.
Guinea won the draw, causing a complaint from Boubacar Diarra, president of the Malian FA. Issa Haytou, president of CAF, defended the process as the only option.
The CAF Disciplinary Committee's South African President Raymond Hack stated that CAF's Member Associations had chosen the option of picking lots ahead of penalties six months prior. He also said that the "Fair Play table was to be used but the countries object to that and they said the table must be taken out of the rules. Had the Fair play table been used, Guinea would have qualified ahead of Mali with a better disciplinary record."
Tunisia vs. Equatorial Guinea refereeingWadie Jary, the president of the Tunisian Football Federation, claimed that there was a bias against Tunisia following their controversial quarter-final defeat to Equatorial Guinea on 31 January 2015. He was banned from CAF competitions and activities. Rajindraparsad Seechurn, the Mauritian referee who gave a penalty to Equatorial Guinea in that match, was banned from officiating for six months and removed from CAF's elite register of referees. The Tunisian FA was fined $50,000 for confronting the referee during the match, in addition to damage to changing room facilities, while Equatorial Guinea was fined $5,000 for inadequate security at the stadium.
Equatorial Guinea vs. Ghana crowd incidentsDuring the semi-final fixture between host nation of Equatorial Guinea and Ghana several incidents occurred between the home fans, visiting fans and police. At the half-time break with Ghana leading the game 2-0, the Ghanaian players were protected from hostile Equatoguinean fans by police using plastic shields.
During the 82nd minute in the second half, fans rushed onto the pitch and missiles were thrown at the Ghanaian substitute players. The players moved onto the pitch to escape the missiles. The travelling Ghanaian fans were also targets and took shelter near the goal of the pitch, out of the range of those throwing objects. A helicopter was dispatched and used to disperse spectators out of the stadium by hovering at a low height above them. The Ghanaian FA described the incident as being similar to a "war zone".
Equatorial Guinea's Police force had fired smoke bombs into the stands in an attempt to bring order. The game was stopped for about 30 minutes, before recommencing for a few minutes.
CAF imposed a US$100k fine on the Equatoguinean Football Federation and were informed an 'official match' in Equatorial Guinea must be held 'behind closed doors' after the tournament's completion.
DR Congo defender Gabriel Zakuani stated that he would rather his team forfeit the third-place playoff instead of play in front of Equatorial Guinea's fans, an opinion which was not shared by his manager Florent Ibengé.