AFCON 2022 national team nicknames: Explaining the origin story behind the country monikers

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National squad nicknames are ever fascinating nary substance which portion of the satellite they originate: Those nicknames often bespeak heavy roots and important aspects of the culture, societal setting, oregon the nationalist past of the radical surviving there.

The African confederation is location to immoderate of the astir fascinating, unique, and absorbing nationalist squad nicknames successful the world. Below is simply a speedy notation usher for the nicknames of each subordinate followed by a breakdown of the astir unsocial ones you are apt to spot heavy into the tournament.

AFCON 2022 nationalist team nicknames by country

Here are the fashionable nicknames for each of the 24 participants successful the Africa Cup of Nations taking spot from Jan. 9 done Feb. 6 successful Cameroon.

MORE: Which team will triumph AFCON 2022? Favorites and odds

Country Nickname
Algeria Les Fennecs (The Foxes)
Fennec Foxes
Desert Warriors
Desert Foxes
Burkina Faso Les Etalons (The Stallions)
Cameroon Indomitable Lions
Cape Verde Tubaroes Azuis (Blue Sharks)
Comoros Les Coelecantes (The Coelacanths)
Egypt The Pharaohs
Equatorial Guinea Nzalang Nacional (National Lightning)
Ethiopia Walias
Gabon Les Pantheres (The Panthers)
Gambia The Scorpions
Ghana Black Stars
Guinea Syli Nationale (National Elephants)
Guinea-Bissau Djurtus
Ivory Coast The Elephants
Malawi Flames
Mali Les Aigles (The Eagles)
Mauritania Al-Murabitun / Almoravids (Lions of Chinguetti)
Morocco Lions de l'Atlas (Atlas Lions)
Nigeria Super Eagles
Senegal Lions of Teranga
Sierra Leone Leone Stars
Sudan Falcons of Jediane
Tunisia Eagles of Carthage
Zimbabwe The Warriors

AFCON 2022 apical nicknames explained

Cameroon: Indomitable Lions

This year's host, Cameroon, volition anticipation to recapture immoderate erstwhile glory. The recognizable nickname was calved retired of a rebrand of sorts. Initially known arsenic conscionable the Lions — a motion to the regal carnal which lives mostly successful the semi-arid bluish parts of the state — president Ahmadou Ahidjo tweaked things a spot successful 1972. He changed the sanction to "Indomitable Lions" hoping to springiness the squad a spot much awesome and recognizable status. "Indomitable" by explanation means "impossible to subdue oregon defeat." 

Cameroon was erstwhile the pridefulness of Africa done the 80's and 90's, highlighted by the 1982 men's World Cup (three awesome radical signifier draws) and the 1990 World Cup (quarterfinal berth), positive its Africa Cup of Nations victories successful 1988, 2000, and 2002. However, things person fallen level for Cameroon of late, with corruption and strife marring the home league and nationalist squad implicit the past decennary oregon so.

Senegal: Lions of Teranga

The Senegalese nickname runs heavy with the past of the country. "Teranga" is simply a connection successful the country's Lingua Franca, oregon "link language," known arsenic Wolof. According to NYC-based Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam  as quoted by the BBC successful 2020, portion the authoritative translation of "teranga" is "hospitality," that explanation is “a escaped mode of translating it. It’s truly overmuch much analyzable than that. It’s a mode of life.”

Thus, the sanction is simply a motion to the country's heritage. Lions are autochthonal to Senegal, though their numbers — like successful Cameroon — person dwindled significantly. The past remaining known lion colonisation is located successful Niokolo-Koba National Park connected the banks of the Gambia river.

Algeria: Fennec Foxes

While different nations similar Cameroon person gone for much intimidating and imposing nicknames, Algeria has embraced a much cute and furry part of its nationalist heritage. The fennec fox, a subspecies of fox autochthonal to the Sahara Desert, is the nationalist carnal of Algeria and frankincense made the cleanable nickname. It adjacent featured connected the 2010 jersey featured below.

A fennec fox is known for its distinctive feature — massive ears. These service to dissipate vigor and assistance the fox past successful the arid climates successful which it resides. Expect to perceive this sanction regularly implicit the period of the tourney with Algeria being the defending champion and 1 of the favorites.

(Getty Images)

Tunisia: Eagles of Carthage

Like Cameroon, Tunisia has taken a well-known carnal and added immoderate flair. Carthage was the coastal superior metropolis of the Carthaginian civilization, an flourishing past civilization that resided in modern time Tunisia. The metropolis was famously sacked and destroyed by the Roman Empire, leaving ruins which tin inactive beryllium visited today. 

MORE: The Top 10 players astatine AFCON 2022

The eagle notation evokes power, regality and superiority. Two different countries, Mali and Nigeria, besides person nicknames that notation the eagle, but nary person a nonstop notation to the country's past, giving Tunisia's nickname a unsocial distinction.

Egypt: The Pharaohs

While different nicknames instrumentality immoderate probe to discern their past and meaning, this 1 is straightforward. Egypt's team, known for its Great Pyramids, is known arsenic the Pharaohs, a motion to the country's past monarchs.

The pharaohs were thought of arsenic messengers from the gods and truthful had divine close to pb the people. As 1 of the astir decorated African confederations — the continent's archetypal representatives astatine the World Cup successful 1934 and winners of the astir AFCON tournaments — they've besides earned the rubric of monarchs successful African football.

Comoros: Coelacanths

First the country: Comoros is simply a tiny land federation located betwixt mainland Africa and Madagascar. Listed with a colonisation of conscionable implicit 850,000 radical arsenic of 2019, the federation consists of 3 main volcanic islands which erstwhile enactment together are astir the aforesaid size as the Hawaiian land of Maui. The state shocked the African scenery by qualifying for the tourney by finishing 2nd successful Group G, finishing conscionable 3 points down Egypt and 2 points up of Kenya. This volition beryllium Comoros's archetypal AFCON tournament.

Now, to the nickname. Pronounced "SEEL-uh-kanth", this monolithic species has an absoutely fascinating — and long — history. According to technological classification, the Coelacanth is much intimately related to amphibians and birds than it is to ray-finned fish. The six-foot, 200-pound food was thought to person gone extinct 66 cardinal years ago, until 1 was rediscovered disconnected the seashore of South Africa. They are estimated to unrecorded astir 100 years, and inhabit the waters astir the Comoros islands, swimming astatine astir 2,300 feet beneath the surface.

(Getty Images)

Equatorial Guinea: Nzalang Nacional

While we've translated the different nationalist nicknames from the section language, this 1 has been near successful its autochthonal language, Fang, which is simply a Central African dialect spoken mostly successful Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and confederate Cameroon. While astir English versions of the sanction person this translated arsenic "The National Thunder", it really seems to amended construe to "The National Lightning."

MORE: Premier League players astatine AFCON 2022

The sanction is simply a notation to the vicious storms experienced successful the rainy season, which contempt the tiny quality of the Massachusetts-sized nation, is wholly reversed depending connected your location. If you're connected the mainland, the rainy play is simply a much accepted March to May and/or September to November depending connected the year. However, connected Bioko Island, located disconnected the seashore of Cameroon but officially portion of Equatorial Guinea, the rainy play is reversed, with precipitation concentrated mostly from November to March.

Ethiopia: Walias

An African federation with affluent history, Ethiopia was 1 of 3 African nations to instrumentality portion successful the precise archetypal AFCON tourney successful 1957, and it won the contention successful 1962 arsenic host. Since 1970, however, the federation has qualified for conscionable 3 editions of the competition, truthful this is an breathtaking clip for Ethiopia.

Interestingly, of Ethiopia's 31 endemic taxon known to the eastbound African nation, the federation chose the Walia Ibex to correspond its squad, alternatively than the much celebrated — and much intimidating — Ethiopian Wolf. An Ibex is simply a threatened taxon of chaotic goat, with lone astir 500 Walias estimated to stay successful the mountains of Ethiopia. However, the prime of mascot did assistance get the federation a sponsorship with Walia beer. 

Malawi: Flames

This nickname seems boring, similar your emblematic precocious schoolhouse mascot, but it really invokes a decent spot of nationalist pride. The state itself is made up mostly of Lake Malawi. The connection "Malawi" is derived from the Bantu dialect known arsenic Chewa, wherever the connection "Maravi" means "flames." The lake, and by proxy the country, was named arsenic specified for the shimmering effect the water gives disconnected erstwhile deed by the sun.

Lake Malawi, sometimes known arsenic Calendar Lake since it is 365 miles agelong and 52 miles wide, represents astir 1 4th of the full landlocked nation, truthful its history is captious to the nation's culture. 

Guinea-Bissau: Djurtus

Oh great, different carnal we've ne'er heard of. Don't worry, this 1 is overmuch cuter than a elephantine fish, though overmuch much dangerous, too.

Guinea-Bissau — not to beryllium confused with Guinea — is a tiny federation connected Africa's westbound seashore astir the size of Maryland. It was location to the African chaotic dog, different known arsenic Djurtus successful the section Portuguese Creole dialect. It is intimately related to a Dhole, different endangered taxon of chaotic canine that lives successful Asia. Unfortunately, the Djurtu is thought to beryllium extinct successful Guinea-Bissau, with the fewer remaining animals scattered astir the eastbound portion of the continent, but this vicious carnal inactive represents an intimidating presence, portion the sanction itself is simply a telephone to the section language. 

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