When Kalidou Koulibaly lifted the coveted Africa Cup of Nations trophy in 2022, there was euphoria in Senegal.

After failing in 2019, the Teranga Lions had finally done it, besting the Pharaohs of Egypt on penalties and in turn, left Cameroon with a $5 million cash prize.

Two years on, another AFCON tournament beckons. This time, the prize money for the winner has seen a significant boost. $7 million will be awarded to the team that conquers the rest, a 40% increase compared to the previous edition.

But how does this figure stack up to the five editions prior?

Comparing 2023 figures to 2021

At Ivory Coast, the runner-up in the AFCON will receive $4 million, the two other semi-finalists will take home $2.5 million each whilst each of the four other quarter-finalists will each earn $1.3 million.

In total, these figures amount to $21.3 million in prize money for teams who finish in the top eight.

In Cameroon, Egypt were awarded $2.75 million for finishing runners-up whilst the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and Burkina Faso received $2.2 million for finishing in the semis.

$1.8 million each were given to Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia and Morocco after they were all knocked out in the quarter-finals. Hence, $19.35 million was made available to the top eight in the previous edition.

One other thing that stands out apart from the increment in the winner’s prize money is the decrease in earnings for quarter-final placed teams.

Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia and Morocco would note that it is more rewarding to reach the semi-finals of the tournament now than it did the last time out.

Prize money for winners from 2013

After winning the trophy for the third time in their history, Nigeria were awarded $1.5 million in 2013. Two years later, Ivory Coast took the same amount after a penalty shootout victory over Ghana.

Cameroon enjoyed a $2.5 million increase in 2017, taking the prize money to $4 million. Algeria earned $4.5 million after beating Senegal and the Teranga Lions went one better to earn $5 million in early 2022.

With the winner now set to earn $7 million, it signifies an increase of over 300% from 2013.

For Ghana during this period, they came closest to the highest prize money in 2015, narrowly losing to Ivory Coast.

Since then, the Black Stars have had to settle for semi-final endings until 2019 when they were knocked out by Tunisia in the round of 16 and 2021 when they recorded their worst-ever AFCON appearance, failing to win any of their three group games.

The marker has now been set. $7 million is the goal if they want to win it all. To Ghanaians, the bragging rights that come with clinching that trophy after 42 years of failing might be more satisfying.

The race is on.

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