time to settle score

IT'S high noon for the 16 African teams who will battle it out in Angola from Sunday for the honour of wearing the 27th Africa Cup of Nations crown.

IT'S high noon for the 16 African teams who will battle it out in Angola from Sunday for the honour of wearing the 27th Africa Cup of Nations crown.

The speculation that has gripped Africa will be put to bed. Will Egypt's dominance come to an end?

Will the perennially underperforming Nigerians keep it together long enough to win the Cup?

Will the Black Stars of Ghana emulate their younger brothers, the Black Satellites, and restore Ghana's dominance?

And will overwhelming favourites Ivory Coast net their second title?

All will be revealed on January 31.

We will also know whether young Dominic Adiyiah fulfilled expectations and set the tournament alight.

Though most South Africans have adopted an attitude that could best be described as lukewarm after Bafana Bafana failed to qualify, they will still be hoping someone breaks a few of our unfortunate records.

For instance, the fastest goal ever was scored against Bafana by Ayman Mansour of Egypt in 23 seconds in 1998.

The tournament since 1957:

Most titles won: (6) - Egypt: 1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008.

Most appearances at the finals: (22) - Egypt: 1957, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1970, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Most appearances in a final: Ghana and Egypt (both 7). Ghana: 1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1978, 1982, 1992. Egypt: 1957, 1959, 1962, 1986, 1998, 2006 and 2008.

Most matches played in the finals: Egypt (84).

Most wins in the finals: Egypt (45).

Most goals in the finals: Egypt (138).

Most Nations Cup appearances by a player: Rigobert Song, Cameroon (7): 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008;

Alain Gouamene, Ivory Coast (7): 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000.

Most matches played: Rigobert Song, Cameroon: 33 games played over seven finals.

Most appearances in the final: (3) Ali El Fanageeli - Egypt: 1957, 1959 and 1962; Cecil Jones Attaquayefio, Ghana: 1965, 1968 and 1970; Charles Addo Odametey, Ghana: 1963, 1965, 1968; Roger Milla, Cameroon: 1984, 1986 and 1988; Rigobert Song, Samuel Eto'o and Geremi, Cameroon: 2000, 2002 and 2008; Ahmed Hassan, Egypt: 1998, 2006 and 2008.

Most goals in the finals: Samuel Eto'o has scored 16 goals in five tournaments between 2000 and 2008. Laurent Pokou of Ivory Coast scored 14 in two tournaments - 1968 and 1970.

Most goals scored in a single tournament: Mulumba Ndaye of then-Zaire scored nine goals in 1974.

Most goals scored by an individual in one match: Laurent Pokou with five goals as Ivory Coast beat Ethiopia 6-1 in 1970.

Fastest ever goal: Ayman Mansour, Egypt (23 seconds).

Most goals scored in one match: (9): Egypt beat Nigeria 6-3 in 1963.

Most goals in a single tournament: 54 in Egypt 1974, under the old eight-team system; 99 in Ghana 2008, under the 16-team system.

Highest winning margin: Ivory Coast beat Ethiopia 6-1 in 1970.

Youngest ever player: Shiva N'Zigou, Gabon: 16 years, two months, 30 days in 2000.

Most performances by a referee in the finals: (6) Tesfaye Gebreyesus (Ethiopia/Eritrea): 1970, 1974, 1978, 1980, 1984, 1986.

Nations Cup winner as player and coach: Mahmoud El-Gohary of Egypt in 1959 and 1998.

Most Nations Cup wins by a coach: (3) - Charles Gyamfi of Ghana in 1963, 1965 and 1982.

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