Afcon 2019: The Players – Statistical overview of the expanded tourney

The stage is set. Finally, the biggest Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament. Egypt 2019 gets to kick off Friday night.

Biggest, in terms of numbers involved. The 32nd edition of the Afcon is an expanded one. 24 participating teams – from the previous 16 – 552 players – from the previous 368. There are six allocated match venues to host each of the six groups. Standard used to be four.

Ahead of the Egypt-Zimbabwe opening match at 20:00 GMT,’s George Duah lays bare the trends from the 23-man squads presented by the respective countries for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations below:


Overall, 552 players are converging in Egypt as the tournament gets underway. European leagues continue to boss the numbers in terms of players making their way to this year’s showdown, contributing a staggering 316 players, 57 percent of the combined squad of 552.

11 different leagues in Europe contributed at least 10 players, the chunk of the players making their way to Egypt are joining from the French Ligue 1 and 2. The two French leagues (Ligue 1 and 2) combined to produce 94 players for the tournament, almost 17 percent.

Leagues in Africa contributed a record 200 players – the South Africa Premier Soccer League led the chart with 42 players closely followed by the Tanzania Premier League and Egyptian Premier League with 20 and 22 players respectively.

There was not a single player from leagues in South America and Oceania. Canada and USA combined to produce 4 players from the North America and Caribbean continent whiles Godfrey Walusimbi and Hassan Waswa of Uganda are the two unattached players coming to the Afcon 2019.

Continent Number of Players
Europe 316
Africa 200
Asia 30
North America and Caribbean 4
South America 0
Oceania 0
Unattached 2



It’s a two-horse race at the top between the French Ligue 1 and the South African Premier Soccer League.

The French Ligue 1 is the most accommodating league for African players contributing an outstanding 49 players, 7 players more than South Africa’s Premier Soccer League.

UEFA Champions League winners, Liverpool made 3 contribution adding to Premier League’s 26 players coming to this year’s African Cup of Nations.

League Name Number of Players
French Ligue 1 49
Premier Soccer League 42
Premier League 26
Egyptian League 22
Turkish Super Lig 22
Jupiler League 21
Primeira Liiga (Portugal) 21
Tanzania League 20
LaLiga 14
Serie A 14
Primeira Liga (Angola) 13



The 200 players from leagues in Africa are adequately spread across 19 nations; Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Burundi and Guinea are the five nations that did not contribute a player playing on the continent to the African Cup of Nations squad lists.

With 17 home-based players, the South African Premier Soccer League leads the race as the nation with most home-based players to the Bafana Bafana Afcon squad, followed keenly by the Pharaohs of Egypt and Tanzania with 15 players each in the final 23 squad.

Again, the South African Premier Soccer League spread across a dominant 42 players across the continent which had the chance to represent their nations at this year’s African Cup of Nations.


Country African League representation Home-based Players
South Africa 42 17
Egypt 22 15
Tanzania 20 15
Angola 13 12
Tunisia 14 9
Kenya 13 9
Namibia 8 8
Mauritania 6 6


Primeiro de Agosto of Angola’s Girabola League provided 8 players, the most from a single club on the African continent South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs has 7 players whilst Zamalek of Egypt, Tunisia’s Esperance, DR Congo’s TP Mazembe and Mamelodi Sundowns provided 6 players each.

African Club Number of Players
Primeiro de Agosto 8
Kaizer Chiefs 7
Mamelodi Sundowns 6
Esperance 6
TP Mazembe 6
Zamalek 6
Bidwest Wits 5
Al Ahly 5
Azam FC 5
Pyramid FC 5
Young Africans 4
African Stars 4
Orlando Pirates 4
Gor Mahia FC 4
Sofopaka 4
Golden Arrows 4
Ismaily SC 3
Lusaka Dynamos 3
Petro Atletico 3
Baroka FC 3
FC Nouadhibou 3
SuperSport United 3


Some other stats about the squad lists:

– Madagascar has the most players from a non-African league. 14 of their final squad are from the French leagues.

– Namibia has the highest number of players from leagues on the African continent – 21.

– Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Burundi and Guinea had no player in their squad playing on the African continent.

– The Zambia Premier League recorded the most players, 8, from an absent African nation.

– Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan is the player with the most caps, 106.

– Goalkeeper Naby Yattara of Guinea at age 35 and 160 days is the oldest player

– Tunisia’s Marc Lamti is the youngest player in this year’s African Cup of Nations’ squad list – born January 28, 2001.





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