From the initial low scoring affairs to the nail-biting final which ended with #TeamSenegal’s victory over #TeamEgypt in a tense penalty shootout, football fans turned to Twitter to follow all the latest and most exciting news around the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2021 tournament. Through a data pool of Tweets, hashtags and handles, Twitter has highlighted the key moments that drove the public conversation during AFCON.

The most used 2022 AFCON hashtags

Despite an early exit from the tournament, #TeamGhana was still a major conversation driver globally, and among the top hashtags used during the tournament. #AFCON2021 was the most used hashtag worldwide, and finalists #TeamSenegal and #TeamEgypt as well as hosts #TeamCameroon were also among the top 10 hashtags. Globally, the 5 most used hashtags were:

#AFCON2021

#CAN2021

#TotalEnergiesAFCON2021

#TeamNigeria

#TeamGhana

The most mentioned handles

The most mentioned handles during the tournament consisted of a mix of national teams, official pages, international players and trusted pages dedicated to punditry and commentary. The official Confederation of African Football (CAF) handle received a ton of engagement, coming in second place on the list of top handles, with the Nigerian national team leading the pack in first place.

Top AFCON Tweets

The most successful AFCON Tweets consisted of a mix of tense moments on the pitch, support from fans and other footballers, hilarious commentary etc. The top Retweeted post came from French play Kylian Mbappe hailing Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi as “the best right-back in the world”. Below are some of the most engaging and hilarious Tweets from AFCON.

https://twitter.com/JustKelechi/status/1480912170288402434?s=20&t=AnXzUG9wMb-rZFW96mYhzQ
https://twitter.com/cleanohene/status/1490435453656391686?s=20&t=JP5Ir9Xqt-sCQiXJCqSBeQ

Top emojis, media and other stats of note

When it comes to using Emojis, the top 10 list reveals a range of emotions only football can elicit from people on Twitter.  From laughter to tears, clapping, trophies and sheer alarm, Emojis played an important role in expressing the emotions amid often heated and joyful conversations. The top Emojis used were:

😂 😭 👏🏾 🔥 🔴 🆚 🏆 🦅 😍 🚨

Twitter has also revealed that many AFCON Tweets included media. Pictures and videos where often used to tell and amplify inspirational AFCON stories; such as a video posted by sports journalist and Twitter Spaces host of #AFCONwithJuliet Juliet Bawuah, telling the story of Salima Mukansanga following her historic appearance as a referee at #AFCON2021.

https://twitter.com/julietbawuah/status/1488436964562849792?s=20&t=cgB9rj26tu-7dFBvsG7wmQ