On the 19th January, South Africa, the hosts of the 2013 African Cup of Nations, will kick-off against rank outsiders and shock qualifiers, Cape Verde.
Cape Verde saw off four-time winners Cameroon in one of the great shocks in world football. And this year's tournament is bound to bring more shocks - last year's winners Zambia will hope to make another great run and possibly win it again.
Here is a short preview, and predictions for the tournament...
Group A sees hosts South Africa, Morocco, shock qualifiers Cape Verde and 2006 World Cup qualifiers Angola pitted together. South Africa will look to use home advantage to help qualify from what would seem a winable group. Their biggest rivals should be Morocco, who have some great individual talent in their squad including Montpellier's Younes Belhanda.
However the hosts Bafana Bafana are favourites to win the tournament and should comfortably win the group. Shock qualifiers Cape Verde will probably find it difficult to contest at the top of the group but they will be inspired by what Zambia did last year.Prediciton: 1st South Africa | 2nd: Morocco
Group B contains 2010 World Cup quater finalists Ghana, Mali captained by former Barcelona star Seydou Keita, Niger and Congo DR. Ghana have been drawn a relatively easy group and should be able to take all nine points on offer here.
Favourite for second place is Mali. So the groups most decisive game could be matchday two on the 24th January when Mali play Ghana at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. This game could be the most likely to decide the future winner of the group.
Prediction: 1st Ghana | 2nd: Mali
Two-time winners Nigeria, last year's winners Zambia, 1962 winners Ethiopia and Burkina Faso make up group C. Continental powerhouse Nigeria are not the team they once were. Still, with Premier League stars like Shola Ameobi, Chelsea's Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel they should have enough to qualify.
Last year's suprise winners Zambia will also be hopeful of qualifying whilst Ethiopia and Burkina Faso will most likely be fighting it out for 3rd place. Be sure to tune in and watch Zambia vs. Nigeria on the 25th January as it should be a cracker.
Prediction: 1st: Nigeria | 2nd: Zambia
The Group of Death no doubt - last year's finalists Ivory Coast, 2004 winners Tunisia, 2006 World Cup finalists Togo led by Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor, and 1990 winners Algeria.
It would seem that with stars like Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Gervinho and Cheik Tiote, Ivory Coast are favourites to top the group, but the fight for second should be fascinating and a big rivalry game between Tunisia and Algeria should be thrilling. Togo may be the dark horses in the group and could pose a threat to the top teams.
Prediction: 1st: Ivory Coast 2nd: Tunisia
Prediction for the tournament:
Winner: Ivory Coast
Top Scorer: Didier Drogba
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