As we head to the halfway point in the Africa Cup of Nations, it seems like a good time to reflect on the continent’s love of the game. The African nations, along with most of the other countries in the world, love to play football. Why is this and why is there such an ongoing popularity? Let’s take a closer look.
Where Did Football Come From?
The game we know as football today was ultimately founded in 1863 in England. It soon spread to many other countries in Europe and leagues began to pop up all over the place. The sport reached Africa not long after; being brought over by English, Belgian, Portuguese and French colonists.
It did not take long for the game to catch on. Football is brilliant because it is one of the most accessible sports in the world and it requires very little equipment. All you need is a relatively clear space in which to play, something to act as the ball, and four objects to mark where the goals are. This means that it would be incredibly easy for anyone to start to play and it was not long before Africans all over the continent were starting to pick up the game.
It wasn’t long before teams began to form in some of the larger African cities. National teams also began to form, with the African Cup of Nations first being played in 1957. This is still one of the most high-profile footballing events in Africa and you can see the odds on the outcome of this year’s tournament here: sport.netbet.ng
Other tournaments began to form too as more and more nations gained independence from former European powers. In 1964, the Confederation of African Football set up their own Champions League. This allowed individual clubs to compete in a league similar to those in Europe. It has proved to be an extremely successful competition and it is watched with interest every year.
Within the major competitions of African football, Egypt has managed to come out on top many times. Their team Al Ahly has won the Champions League eight times and other Egyptian teams have boosted this to 14 wins for the country overall. Meanwhile, in the Cup of Nations, Egypt has also done exceptionally well with 7 wins to their name. The country has also produced exceptional talent like Mohamed Salah, who currently plays for England’s Liverpool F.C.
When it comes to Nigeria, we have managed to win 3 times at the Cup of nations. We might have lost to Madagascar but we have the chance to pull it back with a match against Cameroon. They are the current defending champions so it will prove to be an extremely interesting match.
It is obvious that football has an enduring place in the hearts of the Nigerian and African people. It is an amazing game full of twists and turns and we are always happy to be a part of it. Hopefully the rest of the African Cup of Nations will be as good as always.