Africa

Last updated: 6 january, 2010 - 16:11 GMT

South Africa 1996 - Apartheid out

Kenya were billed to host but Caf withdrew the competition from them due to the government's lack of financial backing and the lagging behind in the improvement of facilities.

It provided the opportunity for Caf to take the tournament to South Africa which had just had its first multi-party elections bringing an end to Apartheid.

Little was known about the South Africans except their few appearances at club and international level since their sporting ban had been lifted in 1992.

Amid the excitement to welcome the newcomers, there was a political clash between the defending champions and host nation.

South Africa's criticism and backing of Nigeria's expulsion from the Commonwealth strained relations between the two countries.

Military leader Sani Abacha's brutal regime came under intense opposition at home and abroad after he executed human rights campaigner Ken Saro Wiwa and his followers.

Despite many appeals, Abacha refused to let a seasoned Nigeria side compete in South Africa. This withdrawal at the last minute forced Caf to ban Nigeria for two years and missed the 1998 Nations Cup.

South Africa went on to win the tournament after beating Tunisia 2-0 in the final.

The victory meant that all the founding members of Caf have hosted and won the competition. But many are still asking whether the result would have been different had Nigeria competed.

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