The always-fascinating CAF Africa Cup of Nations begins Saturday, and marks the 29th continental showdown with some equally interesting statistics about the tournament.

5 stadiums will be used for the 2013 finals in South Africa, all of them built or renovated for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Soccer City in Johannesburg hosts the two matches on opening day plus the final on 10 February, but the rest of the action is being played in Durban, Nelspruit, Port Elizabeth and Rustenburg.

7 is the record number of AFCONs won, held by Egypt, who are not in South Africa. The Pharaohs won the event three times on the trot from 2006 to 2010 but failed to reach the last and the current finals. They were shockingly eliminated in qualifying by Central African Republic but will not fear losing their record as Ghana’s Black Stars are the closest qualified team with four continental triumphs.

7 is the number of tournaments that veteran French coach Claude Le Roy will now have coached in. He will lead the Democratic Republic of Congo to the 2013 finals after having done the same for Cameroon (1986, 1988), Senegal (1990, 1992), DR Congo previously (2006) and Ghana in 2008. He has never failed to get past the first round and won the event with the Indomitable Lions in 1988.

10 of the finalists at the 2013 finals have lifted the trophy before, giving the field a heavyweight feel even if Egypt and four-time champs Cameroon both did not qualify. The six from the 2013 field who have not won are Angola, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Togo and debutantes Cape Verde Islands.

12 months have elapsed since the last edition of the Nations Cup co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The timing of the event is now changed from every even to every odd year and the next tournament is set down for early 2015.

13 is the number of times that Nigeria have reached the last four, second-most behind Egypt’s 14. The Super Eagles have won six of those semi-final matches and gone on to win the event twice.

14 foreign-born coaches have won the tournament in past editions, starting with the Hungarian Josef Titkos at the helm of the Egyptians in 1959. Fourteen is also the number of the victories by locals in charge of their national team, including Hassan Shehata of Egypt from 2006 to 2010.

18 is the record number of goals scored in the tournament in a career, held by Samuel Eto'o. Didier Drogba and his 10 goals are unlikely to challenge the Cameroonian legend’s mark in 2013.

19 nations have hosted the Nations Cup with South Africa now getting a second opportunity after their previous tournament in 1996, which they won. The next two hosts – Morocco (2015) and Libya (2017) – will also be doing so for a second time. Egypt and Ghana have hosted the tournament four times each (Ghana co-hosting with Nigeria in 2000).

29 is the number of Nations Cup tournaments played including 2013 since the first edition in Sudan in 1957. It started with just three teams and slowly expanded over the years to eight finalists, and then 12. In 1996 it was increased to 16, although Nigeria’s withdrawal means only 15 competed.

40 years passed before South Africa, a founding member of the Confederation of African Football, appeared in their first Nations Cup finals. They formed CAF with Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in 1956 but were expelled the next year for the Apartheid policy. It was only after Nelson Mandela became president at the end of white minority rule that Bafana Bafana first participated in the 1996 event.

76 goals were scored at the last finals up from 71 the event before. The record of 99 goals was scored at the 2008 finals in Ghana in a total of 32 games.

368 players will compete at the finals. Each team is allowed a squad of 23 players, three of whom must be goalkeepers. Changes can be made up to 48 hours before their first game but only in the case of injury.

506,000 is the approximate population of the Cape Verde Islands, making them the smallest country to ever compete in the tournament, edging below last year’s co-hosts Equatorial Guinea.