23.1.12

Africa Cup of Nations - Football Philately Special

The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations is now underway so to mark the start of the competition we'll have a look at the first football stamps issued by each of this years participants. To do so is to take a look back at African sporting history and see how sport including football helped forge independent nations free from the yoke of colonialism.


Fittingly it was one of this years co-hosts, Equatorial Guinea (as Spanish Guinea), who were the first nation of the sixteen participants to issue a football themed stamp. Commemorating the game of football a 5-value set all of the same design but in different colours was issued in 1955. The green 10 Peseta value is shown below on a first day cover postmarked in the capital Santa Isabel with a rather striking cachet.

First Day Cover - Spanish Guinea 1955
 Next up were Ghana who in 1959 produced a fabulous 5-value set to commemorate a wonderfully obscure West African football tournament called the Kwame Nkrumah Gold Cup,

First Day Cover - Ghana 1959
Sudan issued this colourful set, shown below with a first day Khartoum cancel, to mark the 1960 Olympiad in Rome.
Rome Olympics - Sudan 1960
Both the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso (as Upper Volta) issued stamp sets in 1961 that featured football alongside other sports, to mark the first African Friendship Games that were held in the former Ivory Coast capital of Abidjan. Niger also issued a sports set to commemorate the Friendship Games, but in 1962. The Games were a multi-sport tournament for the French-speaking African countries and was one of the forerunner tournaments of the current Pan African games.

African Friendship games - Ivory Coast 1961

African Friendship Games - Upper Volta 1961

African Friendship Games - Niger 1962


Co-hosts Gabon issued their first football stamp in 1962 as one of a 3-value general sports set.

Game of Football - Gabon 1962

Mali in 1963 became the first African nation to issue a football stamp that was unconnected to either a sporting tournament or part of a general sports set. Their 4-value Youth Week set included this football stamp.
Youth Week - Football - Mali 1963
The African Friendship Games of 1963 were hosted by Dakar, the capital of Senegal. Again a general sports set was issued that included the rather fine football stamp shown below. Only a day into the Games the organisers met with other African nations and founded the Pan African or All Africa Games and awarded the first games in 1965 to Brazzaville, Congo.

African Friendship Games - Senegal 1963
 Libya produced this rather uninspiring 6-value multicoloured sporting set to mark the 1964 Tokyo Olympiad.

Tokyo Olympics - Libya 1964
 In 1966 Guinea commemorated the 20th anniversary of UNICEF by issuing a 7-value set of childrens drawings. The 25f value featured a footballer.

20th anniversary of UNICEF - Football - Guinea 1966
The Mediterranean Games were first held in 1951 hosted by Alexandria, Egypt. In 1967 the games came to Tunisia who issued this stamp depicting the then newly built Stade El Menzah. The stadium was to later host the Africa Cup of Nations Final in 1994.

Mediterranean Games Tunis - Tunisia 1967
 Morocco issued an Olympic set in 1968 to commemorate the Mexico City Olympiad. Again as was common with general sports sets one of the stamps featured football. It is shown below on a first day cover cancelled in the capital Rabat.

Mexico Olympics - Morocco 1968
This one surprised me. Zambia were relative latecomers when it came to issuing a football stamp. One featured in this 1980 Olympic set issued to mark the Moscow Olympiad.

Add caption
 In 1981 Luanda, capital of Angola was chosen to host the second edition of the Central African Games. The hosts finished fourth in the football tournament that was won by Zaire.

Central Africa Games - Angola 1981
 Finally but not least we come to Botswana who first issued a football stamp in 1990. Bizarrely it was part of a Road safety set and featured children having a kickabout running out in front of a car.

Road safety - Botswana 1990
Phew so there we have it, that took some doing. The sixteen participants of this years Africa Cup of Nations and the first football stamps they issued. If you've enjoyed this post then please do take a few seconds to click the facebook like or Google +1 buttons or share on you favourite social network. Cheers.

2012 Africa Cup of Nations - Draw and Fixture List