The Africa Cup of Nations is under way in
Egypt, with 24 countries – all with different monikers – clashing on the field
over the next three weeks.
Nicknames mean a lot in African football – not only do they give identity to
the fans, they also help motivate players.
Team nicknames, alongside colourful fans and drums, are part of the very
essence of the competition.
Over the next three weeks, the eagle is possibly going to feature most
prominently in Egypt.
Although the Nigerian national team is famous for their green jerseys, the
name Super Eagles of Nigeria is even more popular. The team
derives its name from the eagle on the country’s coat of arms.
Tunisia are simply known as the Carthage Eagles
because of their historic link with the Carthaginian civilisation, whose
national symbol was the eagle. Tunisia will want to see power, agility and
strength in their players, all characteristics associated with the eagle.
And don’t forget The Eagles of Mali.
While The Cranes of Uganda will also be looking for a flying start.
Back on earth and wild animals reign supreme.
From the lion to the snake, leopards to elephants, all of them will be at
this year’s tournament, including:
- Cameroon – The Indomitable Lions:
A name that has really worked for them based on their strength and
reputation. They are four-time winners of the competition and the
- Morocco – The Atlas Lions
- Senegal – The Teranga Lions
- Ivory Coast – The Elephants:
This animal is the national emblem of Cote d’Ivoire due to the country’s
past prominence in the ivory trade
- Benin – The Squirrels: the
smallest animal on this list
- Angola – Palancas Negras
- DR Congo – The Leopards
- Algeria – The Fennec Foxes
- Guinea-Bissau – The Djurtus (Wild
Kings and warriors
Respecting rulers is a strong tradition in Africa – and so it is no surprise
to find teams named after them.
Seven-time champions Egypt are the kings of Africa and have
a name fitting of their status: the Pharaohs. Their line-up
this year includes Mo Salah, the reigning Caf and BBC African Footballer of the
Image copyright Getty
Images Image caption Reigning
champions Egypt have a historic touch to their moniker
The Pharaohs are in the same group as the Warriors of Zimbabwe.
Kenya and Ghana, however, have sought inspiration elsewhere.
The Harambee Stars of Kenya is a Swahili word that means
“pulling together”. A nickname that calls for the country and the
team to come together to achieve a common goal.
Whereas Ghana are known as The Black Stars
owing to the star on the country’s flag. One which the Ghana Football
Association believes promotes unity.
Football fans across Africa will be keenly awaiting the end
of the competition on 19 July to know whether the eagles have soared, the lions
have roared or the pharaohs have reigned supreme once more.