Listed – teams who finished 3rd in AFCON history

Listed – teams who finished 3rd in AFCON history
Photo : PA Images / Icon Sport

Bafana Bafana will tackle DR Congo for third place at AFCON 2023 on Saturday, with both sides marginally missing out on the final.

While South Africa played a gruelling 120 minutes that ended 1-1 against three-time champions Nigeria before bowing out 4-2 on penalties, DR Congo was dispatched by the hosts 1-0 within regulation time.

For Bafana Bafana, it was the second game they would play that stretched into penalties. They beat Cape Verde in the quarter-finals, while DR Congo also dispatched the Pharaohs of Egypt via penalties.

As the two sides go head-to-head in a tie preceding the all-important final between the Super Eagles and the Elephants of Ivory Coast on Sunday, how many times has Bafana Bafana and the Leopards met at AFCON? How many times have they finished third?

Bafana Bafana vs DR Congo AFCON third-place finish

South Africa vs DR Congo lineups at AFCON
Credit: Icon Sport

Bafana Bafana and the Leopards of DR Congo have clashed several times in different capacities. The two sides have met twice at AFCON and twice during the World Cup qualifiers, but never in an AFCON third-place game.

The first time Bafana Bafana clashed with the DR Congo at AFCON was in 1998. The semi-final clash saw South Africa beat DR Congo 2-1, with Benni McCarthy scoring both goals for Bafana Bafana. He scored the winning goal in extra time to send the Bafana Bafana to their second AFCON final.

Bafana Bafana repeated the feat in 2000, beating DR Congo 1-0 in the group stage, with Shaun Bartlett scoring the solitary goal.

Bafana Bafana could tie DR Congo on the number of third-place finishes at the tournament. DR Congo has two third-place finishes (1998, 2015), while South Africa has managed it once, in 2000 when they beat Tunisia.

Teams with the most third-place finish

Kanu Nwankwo in action for Super Eagles at AFCON
Photo : PA Images / Icon Sport

Finishing third at AFCON is not the preserve of just the top teams, with winners cutting across the various spectre of African teams.

Sudan, Ethiopia, Mali and Burkina Faso are the only teams to finish third in the tournament, never to have won.

No country has finished third at AFCON more times than the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Nigeria has eight third-place finishes, with Ivory Coast the closest to them on four. The Chipolopolo of Zambia have three third-place finishes.

Bafana Bafana has only one but could double it when they clash with DR Congo on Saturday.

Find below the table of third-place winners.

AFCON third-place winners

Year Country
1957 Sudan
1959 Ethiopia
1962 Tunisia
1963 Egypt
1965 Ivory Coast
1968 Ivory Coast
1970 Egypt
1972 Cameroon
1976 Nigeria
1978 Nigeria
1980 Morocco
1982 Zambia
1984 Algeria
1986 Ivory Coast
1988 Algeria
1990 Zambia
1992 Nigeria
1994 Ivory Coast
1996 Zambia
1998 DR Congo
2000 South Africa
2002 Nigeria
2004 Nigeria
2006 Nigeria
2008 Ghana
2010 Nigeria
2012 Mali
2013 Mali
2015 DR Congo
2017 Burkina Faso
2019 Nigeria
2021 Cameroon
2023 DR Congo/South Africa


Most AFCON 3rd place winners

Country Number
Nigeria 8
Ivory Coast 4
Zambia 3
Egypt 2
Cameroon 2
Algeria 2
DR Congo 2
Mali 2

This article was most recently revised and updated 5 months ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter. Chooka has a passion for football and has been a fan of Enugu Rangers (over 30 years) and Real Madrid (Since 1996).