Not only are the Teranga Lions of Senegal heading back home hoisting the trophy with the gold medal around their necks; they’re also going back with five million dollars as the winner of Cameroon 2021 African Cup of Nations. The West African country became champions after beating seven-time winners Egypt on Sunday night, the first time in its country.
First the first time in the tournament’s history also, the total prize money given out by organizers increased by $.1.8 million; netting the winners a grand total of $5 million dollars.
The African Cup of Nations is the world’s third-largest football competition, following the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Champions League. This year’s edition, which was deferred from 2021 as a result of the coronavirus lockdowns in the months leading up to it, is the biggest yet; in terms of the reach (it was watched in 157 countries) and monies won by participating teams.
Widely regarded as the best team Senegal has had in twenty years, the current champions beat pre-tournament favourites Egypt through a penalty shoot-out after the match had ended goalless in regular and extra time.
The financial rewards also trickled down to teams from the quarterfinals stage: each of the eight teams who made it to that stage received $1.175 million while the four semifinalists received $2.2 million each. As runners up, Egypt received $2.5 million. These monies are a welcome windfall for the majority of Africa’s footballers who do not ply their trade at the most popular European clubs or receive salaries of the 1%.
The Confederation of African Football is able to make these payouts as a result of its sponsorships and partnerships. In 2016, the headline sponsor TotalEnergies signed an eight-year deal with the tournament. Although CAF did not reveal the exact figure of this sponsorship, industry insiders estimate that revenues brought in by brands that partner for AFCON is in the region of $35 million per tournament.
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