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Elephants, Crocodiles, Antelopes … the nicknames of the 24 teams


Discover the nicknames of the 24 teams competing for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (January 9-February 6) in Cameroon.

“Elephants”, “Fennecs”, “Stallions” or even “Crocodiles” … “Atlas Lions”, “Teranga” or even “indomitable” … In Africa, the nicknames of national selections are far more impressive than in Europe or South America, where we often just mention the color of the jersey or the flag.

As the African Cup of Nations begins Sunday, January 9 in Yaoundé, Cameroon, France 24 goes around the nicknames of the 24 teams who will compete for the trophy until February 6.

Group A

Cameroon: the Indomitable lions will be in their den during the competition. This nickname is one of the best known in the world, notably thanks to Roger Milla, who for the first time led an African team to the quarter-finals of a World Cup in 1990, or Samuel Eto’o, the superstar who became president. of the federation.

Burkina Faso: the Stallions. The nickname comes from the country’s coat of arms, which includes the national flag supported by two spears and two horses – representation of Mossi warriors, the country’s majority ethnic group. Its founding legend is that of Princess Yennenga and her stallion, who founded the kingdom through their union.

Ethiopia : the Walya. The Ethiopian nickname comes from the Abyssinian ibex, a species of antelope found in sub-Saharan Africa.

Cape Verde: the blue sharks, or … the Blue Sharks. The shark is a very impressive animal to frighten opponents; as for the epithet “blue”, it comes from the color of the jersey. Another nickname: the Creoles (the Creoles).

Group B

Senegal : the Lions of Teranga. Teranga means “hospitality” in Wolof. In Africa, there are many teams nicknamed “the Lions”. Also, to distinguish the Senegalese from their “indomitable” opponents of Cameroon or the Lions of the Atlas (Morocco), it is customary, outside the country of Teranga, to complete their nickname.

Zimbabwe : the Warriors. Many African nations have an animal nickname. Not Zimbabwe, which chose “the Warriors”.

Guinea : the National Syli. “Syli” means “elephant” in the language of the Soussous, one of the three majority ethnic groups in the country.

Malawi : the Flames. Another selection that does not have an animal nickname. “Flames” is simply the translation of “Malawi” from Chichewa, the country’s official language with English.

Group C

Morocco : the Atlas Lions. Third team of CAN “Lions”, Morocco derives this nickname from the now extinct species in the wild, which once lived in North Africa.

Ghana : Ghanaians are nicknamed “the Black Stars“. Reference to their flag, which represents a large black star in the middle of colored bands.

Comoros : the Cœlacanthes. Small Thumb of the CAN, the Comorians will make discover their nickname to Africa and to the world. Coelacanths are very rare fish mainly found in the archipelago.

Gabon : the Panthers. Until 2000, the Gabonese were nicknamed “Azingo” in reference to a lake in the country. However, this term meaning “bad luck”, they preferred to opt for the Panthers, one of the most dangerous animals of the forests.

Group D

Sudan: the Nile crocodiles. A nickname taken from the animal, sacred in the north of the country, near the mythical river.

Guinea-Bissau : “the Lycaons” (“The Djurtus”), canids living exclusively in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in Guinea-Bissau where they are endangered.

Nigeria : the Super Eagles. Olympic champions in 1996 and three times CAN winners, the “Eagles” of Nigeria are definitely “super”.

Egypt : the Pharaohs. The Egyptians reign over African football with seven titles including three consecutive in 2006, 2008 and 2010. What could be more logical than adopting the name of the first leaders of their country, kings of ancient Egypt?

Group E

Algeria : the Fennecs. Small fox of the sands of the Sahara, protected species, the fennec is the totem of the Algerian selection. The players are also nicknamed “the Desert warriors“or more prosaically the”Verts“.

Sierra Leone : the Leone Stars Where Leone stars. A lion that is also found on the coat of arms of the country.

Ivory Coast : the Elephants. A logical nickname, the elephant being an integral part of the identity of the country until its name, with ivory.

Equatorial Guinea : the Nzalang Nacional, “national lightning” in the Fang language.

Group F

Mauritania : the Mourabitounes. The national team adopted the name of an ancient dynasty that originated in Mauritania – in French, the Almoravids.

Gambia : the Scorpions. The second newcomer to CAN hopes to make an impression with his nickname. Whoever rubs against this little animal can bite it.

Tunisia : the Eagles of Carthage. The eagle was the emblem of Carthage, capital of North Africa under the Roman Empire, destroyed in Hannibal’s time. A city which is the cradle of Tunisia.

Mali : the Eagles. Aerial duel in group E since the Tunisians will face them Malians who also adopted the nickname “Eagles” in the 1970s. Trained and supplied with equipment by the German technician Karl-Heinz Weigang, they sported a huge eagle German on their shirts. The nickname stuck.

They miss the CAN

The Zebus (Bareas) from Madagascar, the Hawks from Togo, Squirrels from Benin, Hirondelles from Burundi, Leopards of the Democratic Republic of the Congo or the Cranes from Uganda.


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