The Africa Cup of Nations is upon us and before the action kicks off this weekend, AFKSports provides you with 12 of the most memorable moments from recent AFCONs!
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The Africa Cup of Nations is upon us and after the action started yesterday, we provides you with 12 of the most memorable moments from recent AFCONs!

1. Angola 4-4 Mali
On the opening match of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, hosts Angola welcomed Mali in the first match of Group A. Manuel Jose coached The Palancas Negras to a 4-nil lead over his counterpart, Stephen Keshi. But in the second half, Keshi introduced Seydou Keita and Frederic Kanoute who masterminded a remarkable four-goal comeback in the final twelve minutes of the match. They were aided by disastrous defending and clueless goalkeeping, but the result remains one of the most memorable in AFCON history.

2. Andre Bikey Shoves a Paramedic
In most matches, paramedics pass a fairly uneventful evening. But when Senegal played Cameroon in the 2008 AFCON, one unfortunate health worker was shoved for merely doing his job. The perpetrator, Cameroonian midfielder Andre Bikey was sent off for his impudence, and the paramedic commented on the incident after the match. “It was very forceful, and I landed badly. It didn’t hurt at the time but the next day my head ached and the area around my waist did, too…He hasn’t apologised and I will be happy when he does, because no player should do that.”

3. Joao Kapango Nearly Breaks His Neck in Routine Stop
In the final stages of round robin match that pitted Mozambique against Benin, Mambas goalkeeper Joao Kapango ran out of goal to collect a simple rolling ball. In an inexplicable act, Kapango somersaulted but forgot to tuck his chin in, nearly breaking his own neck and conceding an own goal in one fell swoop.

4. Cameroon Twice Champions
Indomitable Lions fans will fondly remember 2000 and 2002 AFCONs. At the time, they were far and away the best team in Africa, with only Senegal or Nigeria challenging their supremacy. Rigobert Song and a precocious Samuel Eto’o strolled around in their revolutionary sleeveless kits that only embellished their musculature.

5. Egypt 3-peat
Select few sides win the AFCON, very few ever won the title consecutively, and only Egypt has won the continental tournament three times in a row. The feat will forever score history books, and the run gave rise to legends such as Mohamed Aboutrika, Wael Gomaa, Essam El Hadary, and Ahmed Hassan. Their final tournament win in 2010 was consolatory in nature as the golden generation had missed out on their chance to qualify for the World Cup.

6. Aristide Bancé panenka
Heroes are only heroes when they rise to the occasion, and that’s why Aristide Bance is feared. In the 2013 AFCON semi-finals against a team as strong as Ghana, Bance turned in the best performance of his career. Not only was the peroxide-bleached striker untenable throughout the match, but when he stepped up during penalty shoot-outs, he shot a panenka, trumping goalkeeper Dauda and sending the entire nation of Burkina Faso in raptures.

7. Zambia return to Gabon Heroes
An emotional story that will be told and re-told forever. 20 years after the entire Zambian team perished in an airplane accident off the coast of Libreville, Herve Renard led Zambia to its first ever AFCON win in the very same city. As the Chipolopolo advanced throughout the tournament the story continued to build, and the crescendo was during the penalty shoot-outs when centre-half Stoppila Sunzu chanted an elegiac tune as he dispatched the winning penalty.

8. Egypt spank 8-man Algeria
Just two months after Algeria unexpectedly stole World Cup qualification from under Egyptian noses, the two sides met again. This time it was in the AFCON semi-finals and the Pharaohs snatched their revenge. Algeria’s frustration grew as the untenable Egyptian attack scored four goals. Les Fennecs accumulated three red cards throughout the mauling, just one away from forfeiting the match.

9. Morocco’s Curse of the Stork
For many Moroccans today, the reasons of their national team’s misfortune is down to an oversized bird. That was the beginning of the end, and it took place in 2006 when Morocco played Kenya. All the Atlas Lions needed was a win to move into the knockout stages and before the landing of the stork, it seemed a matter of time. After the bird was chased off the pitch, the Moroccan player seemed spellbound, looking devoid of inspiration. Since the stork was seen in Ghana 2006, Morocco have never advanced past the group stage of the AFCON.

10. Ethiopia Return to Big Stage
It took nearly 30 years, but when Ethiopia returned to the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013, it was a big deal. The country has always been considered ‘a footballing country’ as it had won the tournament in 1961. It was evident to see why when The Walya Antelopes showed up with 15 000 boisterous supporters. Coach Sewnat Bisha tried playing an attractive brand of football, but the Ethiopian were undone by naïve goalkeeping.

11. Robert Kidiaba Bum Bounces
On several occasions, we have been treated to what has been called the ‘best goal scoring celebration in the entire footballing world’. When DR Congo score, and we are lucky enough, goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba indulges us by sitting on his bottom and hopping like a wind-up toy. Kidiaba will retire from international tournament after this tournament so it may be the last time we will get to enjoy such a treat.

12. Thomas-Nkono Arrested for Casting Juju
None of us watching the television feed really quite knew what was going on. In Mali, for the 2002 AFCON, Cameroon’s legendary goalkeeper and assistant coach was being whisked away by the authorities. Assuming some kind of foulplay, most of us returned our attention to the match, but when the staggering details of his arrest emerged, they crystallized the abduction as one of the AFCON’s most memorable moments. Malian authorities explained that they saw Nkono throw an object at the Malian goal so they had reason to believe he was engaging in Juju.

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