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The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON, CAM) is one of the biggest events in world soccer. The 2021 event featured 24 teams and took place from Jan 9th through Feb 6th, 2022 with Senegal defeating Egypt in the final. Cord-cutters should have no problem watching all the matches next year.
In a hurry? Fans in Canada and the US can watch AFCON 2021 on beIN Sports and beIN Sports and beIN SPORTS en Español. These services provide you access:
- FuboTV: This is the ultimate streaming service for soccer fans including over 100 channels including multiple channels of beIN Sports and TUDN. FuboTV allows you to try out its service free for 7 days.
- Sling TV: The Sports Extra add-on to either its Orange or Blue plans provides beIN Sports and more. Save 50% on Sling TV now!
- Vidgo: Although its Premium plan is much more expensive, you get beIN Sports along with lots of news and content focused on rural life. Try one month for $64.95.
Table Of Contents
The Africa Cup of Nations is one of the world’s premier continental championship events. It features that region’s top men’s national soccer teams and is scheduled every two years.
Those squads are comprised of their best players despite it having often taken place in January, right in the midst of the club season in much of Europe. This is a competition that is incredibly important to those players and fans of these national teams.
How can you watch this event? It depends on where you are based, but you should have the means to do so. For example, fans based in the UK can watch on Sky Sports or the BBC, the latter channel simulcasting a handful of matches.
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In the US, Canada, Australia, and several other countries, beIN Sports will air all the games. You can get access with FuboTV, Sling TV, Vidgo, and YouTube TV. Currently, Hulu + Live TV and DIRECTV STREAM do not offer beIN Sports at all. YouTube TV does offer it but you must upgrade.
Africa Cup of Nations
The Africa Cup of Nations was first held in 1957. Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Africa were selected to play in a four-team event with host Sudan. These countries were chosen because they were the new confederation’s founders and its only members at that time.
However, South Africa was removed from this inaugural competition and, soon thereafter, from the Confederation of African Football altogether. Egypt claimed this competition’s first trophy after defeating Sudan, 2-1, and Ethiopia, 4-0.
The Egyptians later won six more titles. Heading into the January-February 2022 competition, they have the most. They are followed by Cameroon (5), Ghana (4), Nigeria (3), Algeria (2), DR Congo (2), and Ivory Coast (2).
With that said, there has been a lot of recent parity in this competition as six different countries have won the last six editions: Egypt (2010), Zambia (2012), Nigeria (2013), Ivory Coast (2015), Cameroon (2017), and Algeria (2019).
All CAF members are invited to participate in AFCON qualifying. For example, for the 2021 edition, 52 of CAF’s 54 national teams took part in qualifying. The two exceptions were Eritrea and Somalia. Those sides were whittled to the 24 taking part in the final competition.
Every team that qualified played six matches to get here with the exception of Gambia, which played eight times as a result of being one of eight sides needing to navigate a preliminary round.
For the foreseeable future, 24 countries will take part in the Africa Cup of Nations. As a result, the format used is identical to what was utilized at the 1986-94 World Cups and 2015-19 Women’s World Cups.
This consists of six four-team groups with all first- and second-place sides and four of the six third-place teams moving on to the knockout phase. From there, the remaining 16 teams play down to the trophy winner.
Summer or Winter?
The Africa Cup of Nations has traditionally been played in the winter months, and this is the case with the 2021 edition, which was originally scheduled for Jan 9 to Feb 6, 2021, before being moved to those same dates a year later.
This is in the process of changing, however. The reason is partially so that AFCON fits more cleanly in the worldwide calendar and no longer occurs in the midst of the club season in much of Europe.
The 2019 competition, which was hosted by Egypt, took place that summer, becoming the first summer Africa Cup of Nations. The 2023 and 2025 editions are scheduled for a summer timeframe as well.
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AFCON 2021 opened on Jan 9, 2022, with host Cameroon rallying for a 2-1 win over Burkina Faso on the strength of a pair of penalty conversions, pleasing the vast majority of those in attendance at Yaounde’s Olembe Stadium.
Sixteen of its 24 sides advance to the knockout phase while the final has been slated for Feb 6 at Olembe Stadium, which will host one match in each knockout phase round.
Africa Cup of Nations 2021 Schedule
The Africa Cup was originally scheduled for Jun 2021 but it was moved to Jan 2021 due to “unfavourable climatic conditions.” But COVID-19 concerns saw it moved again to Jan 2022.
- Sun Jan 9
- : Cameroon (2) vs Burkina Faso (1)
- : Ethiopia (0) vs Cape Verde (1)
- Mon Jan 10
- : Senegal (1) vs Zimbabwe (0)
- : Guinea (1) vs Malawi (0)
- : Morocco (1) vs Ghana (0)
- : Comoros Islands (0) vs Gabon (1)
- Tue Jan 11
- : Algeria (0) vs Sierra Leone (0)
- : Nigeria (1) vs Egypt (0)
- : Sudan (0) vs Guinea-Bissau (0)
- Wed Jan 12
- : Tunisia (0) vs Mali (1)
- : Mauritania (0) vs Gambia (1)
- : Equatorial Guinea (0) vs Ivory Coast (1)
- Thu Jan 13
- : Cameroon (4) vs Ethiopia (1)
- : Cape Verde (0) vs Burkina Faso (1)
- Fri Jan 14
- : Senegal (0) vs Guinea (0)
- : Malawi (2) vs Zimbabwe (1)
- : Morocco (2) vs Comoros Islands (0)
- : Gabon (1) vs Ghana (1)
- Sat Jan 15
- : Nigeria (3) vs Sudan (1)
- : Guinea-Bissau (0) vs Egypt (1)
- Sun Jan 16
- : Gambia (1) vs Mali (1)
- : Tunisia (4) vs Mauritania (0)
- : Ivory Coast (2) vs Sierra Leone (2)
- : Algeria (0) vs Equatorial Guinea (1)
- Mon Jan 17
- : Burkina Faso (1) vs Ethiopia (1)
- : Cape Verde (1) vs Cameroon (1)
- Tue Jan 18
- : Malawi (0) vs Senegal (0)
- : Zimbabwe (2) vs Guinea (1)
- : Gabon (2) vs Morocco (2)
- : Ghana (2) vs Comoros (3)
- Wed Jan 19
- : Guinea-Bissau (0) vs Nigeria (2)
- : Egypt (1) vs Sudan (0)
- Thu Jan 20
- : Sierra Leone (0) vs Equatorial Guinea (1)
- : Ivory Coast (3) vs Algeria (1)
- : Gambia (1) vs Tunisia (0)
- : Mali (2) vs Mauritania (0)
- Sun Jan 23 (Round of 16)
- : Burkina Faso (0) vs Gabon (0)
- : Nigeria (0) vs Tunisia (1)
- Mon Jan 24 (Round of 16)
- : Guinea (0) vs Gambia (1)
- : Cameroon (2) vs Comoros (1)
- Tue Jan 25 (Round of 16)
- : Senegal (2) vs Cape Verde (0)
- : Morocco (2) vs Malawi (1)
- Wed Jan 26 (Round of 16)
- : Ivory Coast (0/4) vs Egypt (0/5)
- : Mali (0/5) vs Equatorial Guinea (0/6)
- Sat Jan 29 (Quarter-final)
- : Gambia (0) vs Cameroon (2)
- : Burkina Faso (1) vs Tunisia (0)
- Sun Jan 30 (Quarter-final)
- : Egypt (2) vs Morocco (1)
- : Senegal (3) vs Equatorial Guinea (1)
- Wed Feb 2 (Semi-final)
- : Burkina Faso (1) vs Senegal (3)
- Thu Feb 3 (Semi-final)
- : Cameroon (0/1) vs Egypt (0/3)
- Sun Feb 6
- : Burkina Faso (3/3) vs Cameroon (3/5) (3rd place match)
- : Senegal (0/4) vs Egypt (0/2) (Final)
Those based in the US can watch all of the AFCON action by securing access to beIN Sports. In fact, that is also how Canadians and Aussies can do so. beIN Sports is also the destination for fans in many African and Asian countries and a select number of European countries, including France.
Meanwhile, those who are situated in the UK and Ireland will want to tune into Sky Sports to catch all of the matches. You should be able to stream these games on NOW. The BBC has agreed to simulcast coverage of 10 of its games, including both semifinals and the final.
Elsewhere, it depends. For example, DAZN carries AFCON matches to those in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. ESPN is the carrier for much of the Caribbean.
Those based in the US looking to stream AFCON matches need to pay for a streaming service that provides access to beIN Sports. Thankfully, there are a number of good options. But first, let’s look at the general support of beIN Sports, which airs all the games in the US.
FuboTV is the only service that provides pretty much all of the channels from within its app. Sling TV and Vidgo offer access to beIN Sports Connect, so subscribers can watch all the channels through its system (see below for device limitations). YouTube TV does not offer beIN Sports Connect but should provide access to most games.
|Channel||FuboTV||Sling TV||Vidgo||YouTube TV|
|beIN Sports Xtra||✔️||❌||❌||💲|
|beIN Sports Ñ||✔️||💲||❌||❌|
|beIN Sports Xtra Ñ||✔️||❌||❌||❌|
|beIN Sports 4||✔️||❌||❌||❌|
|beIN Sports 5||✔️||❌||❌||❌|
|beIN Sports 6||✔️||❌||❌||❌|
|beIN Sports 7||✔️||❌||❌||❌|
|beIN Sports 8||✔️||❌||❌||❌|
|beIN Sports Connect||✔️||💲||✔️||❌|
FuboTV ($69.99/mo) offers 10 beIN Sports channels in its base plan plus access to beIN Sports Connect. If the AFCON is your sole focus, you just need to subscribe for a month and then be done with it. But beIN offers great soccer coverage year-round. In all, FuboTV offers well over 100 channels, roughly 40 of which are sports-oriented. These include CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, FS2, NFL Network, Golf Channel, and various TUDN channels.
All FuboTV plans come with 750 hours of cloud DVR storage and the ability to watch on up to 10 devices at the same time. For all the details, see our FuboTV review.
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Sling TV offers beIN Sports and Bein Sports Ñ along with access to beIN Sports Connect, which provides access to most of its channels. This can be accessed through its World Sports plan for $10/mo, which also includes Willow and Premiere. Also consider that you can get that for half off, at $5/mo, if you combine it with a Sling Orange plan ($35/mo). The latter option will also get you ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT.
Sling TV comes with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. The number of simultaneous screens you get depends on how you purchase it. With the Blue plan, you get three; with the Orange plan, you only get one. See our Sling TV review for more information.
Other Streaming Services
Two other streaming services will allow you to watch AFCON:
- Vidgo: For $59.95/mo, you get 100+ channels including the base beIN Sports channel. You also get access to beIN Sports Connect. For more see our Vidgo review.
- YouTube TV: This streaming services provides a great selection of channels for $64.99/mo. But to get beIN Sports and beIN Sports Xtra, you must also purchase its Sports Plus add-on ($10.99/mo) for a total of $75.98/mo. Note that you do not get access to beIN Sports Connect.
Outside the US
The AFCON streaming options vary around the world. For example, NOW TV is one for those based in the UK. Kayo Sports is available for Aussies. And Austrians, Germans, and the Swiss can get DAZN.
Superpower Your Streaming With a VPN
For the sake of privacy, security, and access, you should be using a VPN. They are low-cost and easy to use. We’ve been using them for years and our top pick is ExpressVPN. Be sure to check out our deals page on ExpressVPN, NordVPN, SurfShark and PureVPN.
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Streaming Devices and TVs for AFCON
Both FuboTV and Sling TV provide support for most streaming TVs and devices in use today. But see our reviews of them for the complete list of supported devices.
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android Mobile
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Google TV
- iOS Devices
- LG Smart TVs
- Samsung Smart TVs
- Web browsers
- Xbox One.
FuboTV also supports Hisense and VIZIO smart TVs. Sling TV supports AirTV, Google Nest, Oculus, Portal from Facebook, TiVo Stream, and Xfinity devices.
Sign Up for a Free 7-Day Fubo Trial
beIN Sports Connect
Unless you subscribe to FuboTV, you will probably have to watch at least some matches via beIN Sports Connect. Note that it provides limited device support: Android Mobile, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, Samsung smart TVs, web browsers.
The Africa Cup of Nations doesn’t get as much attention as other events like the CONCACAF Gold Cup. But it still features some of the best soccer in the world and should feature some great matches. We recommend FuboTV to catch it all. But if you just want to watch AFCON, Sling TV is a great low-cost option.
Can I watch the Africa Cup of Nations for free?
No, it is not possible for those based in the US to watch the Africa Cup of Nations for free. But Sling TV provides the next best option, offering a few beIN Sports channels with its World Sports plan for $10/mo. Additionally, fans in the UK who have paid for a TV license can freely access 10 AFCON 2021 matches through the BBC.
Why is the Africa Cup of Nations referred to as AFCON and CAN? What is CAF?
AFCON is an acronym that is used to refer to the Africa Cup of Nations. Another is CAN, the French-language one utilized for this event, which is known amongst those speakers as the Coupe d’Afrique des Nations. Meanwhile, CAF stands for the Confederation of African Football, the governing body for the sport in Africa (and this event’s organizer).
How come Premier League and other clubs release players for this competition?
The FIFA Calendar is an agreement that communicates to national teams and clubs when the latter teams must release all called-upon players for competitions played by the former sides. All continental championship events, such as the Africa Cup of Nations, and associated qualifying matches are included.
How can I watch other soccer leagues and events without cable?
We have created guides to help you watch other soccer leagues:
Featured image cropped from 2017 Africa Cup of Nations by Ben Sutherland under CC BY 2.0.
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