Completesportsnigeria.com's JAMES AGBEREBI presents the past 12 AFCON champions who couldn't defend their title at the next edition, crashing out after the Group stage matches.
1. COTE D'IVOIRE (2015 AFCON Champions, Eliminated in 2017 AFCON Group Stage)
After winning the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire failed to even make it out of the group stage at the 2017 edition in Gabon.
Drawn with Morocco, Togo and Democratic Republic of Congo in Group C, Cote d'Ivoire did get a win.
They were forced to a 0-0 draw by Togo, played 2-2 with DR Congo and lost 1-0 to Morocco to become the 12th and latest reigning champions to exit at the group stage in the history of the AFCON.
2. ZAMBIA (2012 AFCON Champions, Eliminated in 2013 AFCON Group Stage)
Zambia stunned everyone by winning the 2012 AFCON cohosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
But it was a different ball game at the 2013 edition in South Africa as they crashed out in Group C that also had Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.
They played 1-1 with Ethiopia, 1-1 with Nigeria and 0-0 against Burkina Faso.
3. ALGERIA (1990 AFCON Champions, Eliminated in 1992 AFCON Group Stage)
Drawn in Group C with Cote d' Ivoire and Congo Brazzaville, Algeria never got going at the 1992 AFCON in Senegal.
They got walloped 3-0 by Cote d'Ivoire in their first group game then drew 1-1 with Congo Brazzaville to crash out.
4. CAMEROON (1988 AFCON Champions, Eliminated in 1990 AFCON Group Stage)
The 1990 AFCON in Algiers was an unpleasant one for champions Cameroon as they lost out in the group stage.
They had Zambia, Senegal and Kenya to contend with in Group B.
Against Zambia they lost 1-0, were beaten 2-0 by Senegal before triumphing 2-0 over Kenya which was not enough for progression into the last four.
5. EGYPT (1986 AFCON Champions, Eliminated in 1988 AFCON Group Stage)
Egypt won the maiden edition of the AFCON in 1957 and went on to defend the title in 1959.
But it was a big ask for them in 1988 in Maroc after winning the 1986 edition as hosts.
To progress into the semi-finals, Egypt must negotiate their way out of Group B that had Nigeria, Cameroon and Kenya.
They didn't have the best of starts as they lost 1-0 to Cameroon. They bounced back with a 3-0 win against Kenya but could only play 0-0 with Nigeria to book an early flight back home.
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6. GHANA (1982 AFCON Champions, Eliminated in 1984 AFCON Group Stage)
Ghana were drawn in Group B with Nigeria, Algeria and Malawi to kick-off the defence of the AFCON title they won in 1982.
Against archrivals Nigeria in their first match, Ghana lost 2-1. They were defeated 2-0 by Algeria in their second group game before beating Malawi 1-0 in their last group game which was not enough to guarantee qualification into the semi-finals.
7. NIGERIA (1980 AFCON Champions, Eliminated in 1982 AFCON Group Stage)
Nigeria got knocked out in the group phase as AFCON champions at the Libya 1982 tournament.
Despite kicking off their Group B campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win against Ethiopia, they lost 2-1 to Algeria and 3-0 to Zambia respectively and crashed out.
8. GHANA (1978 AFCON Champions, Eliminated in 1980 AFCON Group Stage)
Going into the 1980 AFCON hosted by Nigeria as defending champions, Ghana were one of the favourites.
Unfortunately, they failed to progress from Group B, finishing in third spot behind group winners Algeria and second place Morocco.
Ghana opened their 1980 AFCON campaign with a 0-0 draw against Algeria. They beat Guinea 1-0 but suffered a 1-0 loss to Morocco.
9. MOROCCO (1976 AFCON Champions, Eliminated in 1978 AFCON Group Stage)
The trend of AFCON defending champions falling at the group stage at the next edition continued, as 1976 champions Morocco got eliminated at the group phase of the 1978 edition in Ghana.
In their opening Group B game against Tunisia both teams settled for a 1-1 draw. Against Congo in their next group game, Morocco won 1-0 but were thrashed 3-0 by Uganda in their final group tie to go out.
10. DR CONGO (1974 AFCON Champions, Eliminated in 1976 AFCON Group Stage)
For the second time, DR Congo couldn't advance from the group stage as defending champions.
They had Nigeria, Sudan and Morocco to contend with in Group B at the 1976 AFCON in Ethiopia, but could only pick one draw and two loses.
Against Nigeria in their first game, they lost 4-2, were beaten 1-0 by Morocco in their second game before holding Sudan to a 1-1 draw in their last group game.
11. SUDAN (1970 AFCON Champions, Eliminated in 1972 AFCON Group Stage)
Just like DR Congo, Sudan couldn't defend their title at the 1972 edition in Cameroon after winning as hosts in 1970.
They became the second team to achieve the unenviable feat.
At the 1972 AFCON, drawn in Group B, Sudan played 1-1 with DR Congo in their first match, played another 1-1 draw against Morocco before losing 4-2 to eventual champions Congo Brazzaville, hence crashing out.
12. DR Congo (1968 AFCON Champions, Eliminated in 1970 AFCON Group Stage)
DR Congo were the first team in AFCON history to go out at the group stage as defending champions.
known as Congo Kinshasa at the AFCON 1968 in Ethiopia, DR Congo were crowned champions for the very first time.
But at the 1970 AFCON in Sudan, they were sent packing at the preliminary rounds.
In their first group game, they lost 2-0 to Ghana, drew 2-2 with Guinea and went down 1-0 to Egypt.
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