Egypt will be hoping to ease their World cup agony with their third successive AFCON crown.
Last Updated: 08/01/10 10:53am
Egypt are amongst the favourites to win the tournament as they always seem to do well in the continental showpiece.
Egypt and Algeria finished ahead of Zambia and Rwanda in the final phase of the combined World Cup qualifiers on level points, same goal difference and exactly the same head-to-head record, meaning a winner takes all encounter at a neutral venue would decide who made it to South Africa.
Algeria pipped their North African neighbours and bitter rivals in a tense and controversial 1-0 win in Sudan with the Pharaohs having to settle for a place at the 27th African Nations Cup.
However Egypt can take heart from the fact that they are the current African Champions having won in 2008. They also hold the record for winning the ANC six times, including the inaugural Cup in Sudan 1957. They also won the tournament in 1959, 1986 - where they were hosts, 1998, 2006 - where they again hosted and 2008.
The Pharaohs were also the first African country to participate in the World Cup when they played in Italy 1934. The only other World Cup Egypt has qualified for was Italy 1990.
They have also won the All Africa Games twice, the Pan Arab Games four times and the Arab Cup of Nations once.
One to watch: Mohamed Aboutrika
Dubbed the Egyptian Zinedine Zidane, Aboutrika has been a key member of his club side Al-Ahly as well as the Egyptian national team.
He helped The Red Devils win the national league and the CAF champions League two successive times which included a 71 match unbeaten run. He also helped win a bronze medal in the FIFA Club World Cup, 2006
Aboutrika's skill and vision on the field ensured success for Egypt in the 2006 African Cup of Nations while his winning goal in the 2008 tournament saw the Pharaohs claim successive titles.
Aboutrika was nominated for the 2008 CAF African Footballer of the Year award, coming second behind Togo's Emmanuel Adebayor.
Al-Ahly's Portuguese coach Manuel José de Jesus describes Aboutrika as 'the best football player in Africa'.
Coach: Hassan Shehata
Shehata has managed The Pharaohs since 2004 and played in three African Nations Cups for Egypt in 1974, 1978 and 1980.
The 60-year-old, who succeeded Italian Marco Tardelli in the post, led the team to African Nations Cup success in 2006 and then again in 2008.
Shehata is not afraid to make tough decisions having substituted former Tottenham striker, and then star of the team, Mido in the 2006 AFCON semi-final against Senegal. The frontman reacted angrily and was thrown out of the squad missing the final with the Ivory Coast. However Shehata's decision was vindicated when Amir Zaki came on to score the winner minutes after replacing the moody Mido.