Africa

Last updated: 6 january, 2010 - 14:47 GMT

Sudan 1957 - Tough start

The first competition was initially scheduled to take place in late 1956 in Egypt (then called the United Arab Republic).

Egypt had been chosen as hosts in Lisbon earlier in the same year, where along with the other founding members Ethiopia, Sudan and South Africa, they had met to discuss the formation of the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

However, the venue was later changed as Egypt was politically unstable. Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser was still consolidating his grip on power after two coups, including the overthrow of the Monarchy.

Egypt was also at war: fighting an Israeli invasion of the Sinai and the British occupation of the Suez Canal. Certainly hosting a football tournament was not a priority.

Another teething problem for Caf was South Africa’s refusal to enter a multi racial side in Sudan, the new venue.

The South Africans refused insisting on an all Caucasian squad and the other members were left with no alternative but to ban them. South Africa returned to the Nations Cup four decades later.

Ironically, it was Egypt, with all its domestic troubles, who won the first competition in Khartoum, where only three nations competed.

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