The Africa Cup of Nations is one of football's most open and captivating tournaments and it has reached the semi-finals stage with Cameroon vs Egypt. AFCON 2021 has been showcasing the continent's best talents, including a host of Premier League stars, and pulling out quite the few surprises too. Here's how to watch the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and watch every AFCON live stream wherever you are this February.
The 33rd edition of the AFCON had been due to take place last year, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning that, like last year's Euro 2020, the tournament has been left with a somewhat awkward and confusing title.
Dates: Jan 9 - Feb 6
Host nation: Cameroon
Australia: beIN Sports (via Kayo (opens in new tab))
Canada: beIN Sports Connect (opens in new tab)
Watch anywhere: Try ExpressVPN 100% risk-free (opens in new tab)
Hosted by Cameroon across five cities the 24-team tournament has been playing out over four weeks in January and February 2022, with Algeria the defending champions now out of the running.
Watch out for Premier League favourites like Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Wilfred Zaha, Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho and many more, as well as star players from across the rest of Europe's top clubs as Africa battles it out to show who's best.
Here's how to watch an AFCON 2021 live stream from anywhere - including how to watch the Africa Cup of Nations for free. We also have key information on the AFCON 2021 fixtures, schedule, groups, format and the Africa Cup of Nations qualified teams.
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How to watch a AFCON 2021 FREE live stream online in the UK
The great news for UK football fans is that a big chunk of AFCON 2021 games will be available to watch FREE online!
The BBC is set to broadcast 10 games from the tournament live including two quarter-finals, both semis and the final on February 6 in Yaounde's Olembe Stadium. That means you'll be able to stream coverage online via BBC iPlayer (opens in new tab) - just make sure you possess a valid TV license.
If you're a footy fan who wants coverage of every single 2021 AFCON fixture, then you'll need Sky Sports (opens in new tab). The pay TV broadcaster will be showing all 52 matches of AFCON 2021 live across their platforms on TV and online.
If you want to sign up, you can check out our dedicated guide to Sky TV deals and packages (opens in new tab) for today's best prices or try Now TV for PAYG access.
Not in the UK for AFCON 2021? No worries - residents of the country can just download and install a VPN (opens in new tab) to port themselves back home to a UK location, then watch live as normal.
How to watch AFCON 2021 from outside your country
Scroll down for all the ways you can watch AFCON 2021 online in a number of countries around the world. But first, you should know that if you're abroad at any point during the tournament, you probably won't be able to watch the footy like you normally would at home.
This is because of geo-blocking, a digital restriction that means certain streaming services are only accessible in the region they're based in. Don't sweat it, though, as you've got the option of using a VPN to tune to your preferred coverage wherever you are.
Use a VPN to live stream AFCON 2021 from anywhere
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We've taken the time to try out all the biggest VPN providers and we found ExpressVPN to be the best of the bunch. It works with lots of devices and offers super fast connections across its many servers. It's compatible with loads of devices including iOS, Android, Amazon Fire Stick, PlayStation, Apple TV and such, and we found it secure, speedy and simple-to-use.
Throw in its robust security features, and ExpressVPN is the best all-round VPN for streaming - and perhaps best of all, it has a 30-day money back guarantee plus 3 months FREE (opens in new tab) when you subscribe for a year.
Once you've downloaded the software, just follow the prompts to install it then select the location you want to relocate your IP address to - it really is that easy.
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How to use a VPN
Using a VPN is as easy as one-two-three...
1. Download and install a VPN - as we say, our top choice is ExpressVPN
2. Connect to the appropriate server location - open the VPN app, hit 'choose location' and select the appropriate location.
3. Go to the broadcaster's stream - head to your home broadcaster's site or app and watch as if you were at home - so that's BBC iPlayer the UK or possibly Sling (opens in new tab) or FuboTV (opens in new tab) for the US.
How to watch an AFCON 2021 live stream in the US
International pay-TV sports specialist beIN Sports (opens in new tab) is the exclusive broadcaster of AFCON 2021 in the US, and if you're already a subscriber, you can also live stream the action via the beIN Sports Connect app.
If you don't have the channel on cable, don't worry.
A great alternative option is cord-cutting streaming service Sling TV (opens in new tab). If you already have Sling, you can add beIN Sports for an extra $5 per month. If you don't, you can currently try out Sling for free for three days (opens in new tab) to see if you like it. It's a good service and well worth a go.
Another costlier (but more thorough) option is a FuboTV plan (opens in new tab). Its standard plan costs $64.99 a month for access to more than 110 channels - including nearly all the sports networks you could ask for. But test it out for free first with a fuboTV FREE trial (opens in new tab).
And don't forget, a quality VPN (opens in new tab) will let you take your preferred streaming service with you wherever you go, even if that happens to be abroad.
How to watch AFCON 2021 soccer in Australia
In Australia, there's only one place to tune into AFCON 2021. Kayo (opens in new tab) is set to show all 52 matches of the tournament, through its partnership with beIN Sports Australia.
Since Kayo doesn't have a search function on its TV app, its coverage of AFCON is unfortunately a little hard to find. You'll need to scroll down to 'live channels' on the home page, then click on the beIN Sports 1 channel to watch it.
And if you leave Oz at any point during the tournament, simply use a VPN (opens in new tab) to tune in as normal on your Optus account.
How to watch AFCON 2021: live stream soccer in Canada
Much like in the US, beIN Sports (opens in new tab) is the exclusive broadcaster of AFCON 2021 in Canada.
beIN is available through most cable providers, including Bell and Rogers, but there's also the option for cord cutters to use beIN's standalone streaming service BeIN Sports Connect (opens in new tab).
The service is available for a modest outlay of $14.95 for a monthly pass or a yearly commitment for $164.95 per annum. It has dedicated apps for iOS, Android and Apple TV as well as a number of Smart TV platforms.
And if you're not in Canada right now, you can follow the VPN route (opens in new tab) above to tune in with a beIN.
Who has qualified for AFCON 2021 and who are the favorites?
Following Egypt's back-to-back-to-back AFCON titles triumph between 2006 and 2010, the tournament has had five different winners and nine different finalists, underscoring just how difficult it is to predict a tournament winner can be.
Holders Algeria, who boast the dual attacking threat of Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez and West Ham's Saïd Benrahma are nevertheless the favourites with the bookies.
While many pundits are tipping the Mohamed Salah-led Egypt to triumph or the talent-packed Senegal who boast Salah's Liverpool teammate Sadio Mané, as well as Edouard Mendy and Cheikhou Kouyate, a smart bet could be the Ivory Coast, who will have Wilfried Zaha, Nicolas Pepe and Eric Bailly to count upon, as well as one of the world's most in-form strikers with Ajax's on fire Sebastien Haller.
- Cameroon (hosts)
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde Islands
- Comoros Islands
- Guinea Bissau
- Equatorial Guinea
- Ivory Coast
- Sierra Leone
AFCON 2021 fixtures: upcoming schedule
Saturday January 29
Gambia vs Cameroon - 5pm WAT local time / 4pm GMT / 11am EST / 8am PST / 3am AEDT (Japoma Stadium, Douala)
Burkina Faso vs Tunisia - 8pm WAT local time / 7pm GMT / 2pm EST / 11am PST / 6am AEDT (Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua)
Sunday January 30
Egypt vs Morocco - 5pm WAT local time / 4pm GMT / 11am EST / 8am PST / 3am AEDT (Olembe Stadium, Yaounde) - Live on Sky Sports Premier League
Senegal vs Equatorial Guinea - 8pm WAT local time / 7pm GMT / 2pm EST / 11am PST / 6am AEDT (Japoma Stadium, Douala)
Wednesday February 2
Semi-final 1: Quarter-final 1 winner vs Quarter-final 4 winner, 8pm WAT local time / 7pm GMT / 2pm EST / 11am PST / 6am AEDT (Japoma Stadium, Douala)
Thursday February 3
Semi-final 2: Quarter-final 2 winner vs Quarter-final 3 winner, 8pm WAT local time / 7pm GMT / 2pm EST / 11am PST / 6am AEDT (Olembe Stadium, Yaounde)
Sunday February 6
Semi-final 1 loser vs Semi-final 2 loser, 5pm WAT local time / 4pm GMT / 11am EST / 8am PST / 3am AEDT (Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde)
2021 AFCON Final
Sunday February 6
Semi-final 1 winner vs Semi-final 2 winner, 8pm WAT local time / 7pm GMT / 2pm EST / 11am PST / 6am AEDT (Olembe Stadium, Yaounde)
AFCON 2021 format: how does it work?
The African Cup of Nations was expanded from 16 teams to 24 for AFCON 2019, and the same format is in place for this year's competition.
The teams are split into six groups of four, which were loosely dictated by each nation's performances in qualifying.
Each team plays the other teams in its group once, and the top two in each group automatically qualify for the knockout stages. However, of the six teams that finish third in their group standings, the four strongest also go through.
The knockout phase begins with the Round of 16, followed by the Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and, eventually, the 2021 AFCON Final is on Sunday, February 6.
What is the Africa Cup of Nations?
First held in 1957, the now biennial tournament is the most prestigious football competition in Africa and is organised by the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF).
With its teams usually opting for attacking play, and a predilection for open, unpredictable results, it's widely regarded by many soccer fans as the most entertaining men's international football tournament there is.
From Ivory Coast’s marathon shootout win in 1992 after 10 rounds of sudden death spot kicks, to Zambia’s emotional success in 2012, the competition never fails to throw up memorable moments.
Where is AFCON 2021 being held?
This year's tournament takes place across six venues in five Cameroonian cities, with the Olembe Stadium and the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo hosting matches in the capital Yaoundé.
The bulk of the group stage matches will be played out at the Japoma Stadium in Douala, the Limbe Stadium in Limbe, the Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam and the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua.
The opening match of the tournament as well as the showpiece final are both set to take place at the newly built 60,000 seater Olembe Stadium in the capital.
Who won AFCON 2019?
Algeria are the defending champs this time out, after winning the Africa Cup of Nations for the second time in their history after beating Senegal in the 2019 final in Cairo, Egypt.
The Algerians triumph came via a freak early goal after Baghdad Bounedjah's shot took a huge deflection off Salif Sane and looped over despairing goalkeeper Alfred Gomes for what would prove to be the game's crucial moment.