Group A preview
Ghana go into the competition as favourites and are expected to cruise through a straightforward group.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 18/01/08 11:14am
Ghana go into the competition as favourites to pick up the title and are expected to cruise through a seemingly straightforward group.
Namibia are rank outsiders to progress to the quarter-finals and will probably be looking to escape form the tournament with their dignity intact.
Guinea and Morocco are both capable sides, and the clash between the two on 24th January is likely to decide who joins Ghana in the last eight.
Here is an in-depth breakdown of the sides in Group A.
The hosts are four times winners of the competition and have picked up the trophy twice on home soil, in 1963 and 1978.
They surprisingly failed to make it out of the group stages of the 2006 tournament, but after impressing at the World Cup during the same year they will be one of the favourites to claim the top prize this time around.
Ghana will feature a strong British based contingent made up of John Pantsil (West Ham), Michael Essien (Chelsea), Sulley Muntari (Portsmouth), Junior Agogo (Nottm Forest), Chris Dickson (Gillingham), Richard Kingson (Birmingham) and Laryea Kingston (Hearts).
Fenerbache midfielder and national side captain Stephen Appiah will miss the tournament through injury, though, and his experience and quality will undoubtedly be missed.
One to watch: Michael Essien.
The Chelsea midfielder will carry the hopes of a nation on his shoulders in the absence of Appiah, but if he rises to the challenge then the rest of the team should follow his lead.
His energetic and hard working displays will be pivotal to the hosts' success and much of Ghana's play is expected to go through the former Lyon man.
Squad: Richard Kingson (Birmingham City), Sammy Adjei (Ashdod), Fatau Dauda (Ashantigold), John Paintsil (West Ham), Dan Opare (Ashantigold), Nana Kwasi Asare (FC Mechelon), John Mensah (Rennes), Alhassan Illiasu (FC Saturn), Francis Dickoh (FC Utretcht), Hans Adu Sarpei (Bayer Leverkusen), Harrison Afful (Asante Kotoko), Anthony Annan (I.K. Start), Eric Addo (PSV Eindhoven), Michael Essien (Chelsea), Bernard Kumodzi (Panionios FC), Laryea Kingston (Hearts), Haminu Draman (Locomotiv Moscow), Moussa Narry (Etoile du Sahel), Sulley Muntari (Portsmouth), Andre Ayew (Olympique Marseille), Ahmed Barruso (AS Roma), Matthew Amoah (NAC Breda, Holland), Asamoah Gyan (Udinese, Italy), Baffuor Gyan (FC Saturn, Russia), Junior Agogo (Nottingham Forest, England), Quincy Owusu-Abeyie (Celta Vigo, Spain), Kwadwo Asamoah (Liberty Professionals, Ghana)
Guinea's best performance in the African Cup of Nations came in 1976 when they finished as runners-up, but they have reached the quarter-finals at the last two tournaments proving that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Celtic defender Bobo Balde will be the most recognisable player to British supporters, but 17 of the Guinean squad play their football in Europe and are no strangers to the big occasion.
One to watch: Ismael Bangoura.
The Dynamo Kiev striker enjoyed a successful spell with French side Le Mans before earning a big money move to the Ukraine and has an impressive goals to games ratio for the national side.
Bangoura has featured in the UEFA Champions League this season, and grabbed Kiev's second goal in their 4-2 defeat to Manchester United in October 2007.
Squad: Kemoko Camara (unattached), Naby Diarso (Satellite FC), Naby Yattara (RACS Couillet, Belgium), Bobo Balde (Celtic), Habib Jean Balde (Reims), Alseny Camara (Rodez), Ibrahima Camara (Le Mans), Kevin Constant (Toulouse), Mohamed Alimou Diallo (Sivasspor), Daouda Jabi (Trabzonspor), Oumar Kalabane (Manisaspor), Kamil Zayatte (Young Boys Berne), Mohamed Cisse (Bursaspor), Pascal Feindouno (St Etienne), Samuel Johnson (Ismaili), Mohamed Sacko (Etoile Sahel), Naby Soumah (CS Sfaxien), Kanfory Sylla (Sivasspor), Ismael Bangoura (Dynamo Kiev), Karamoko Cisse (Verona), Victor Correa (Cherbourg), Fode Mansare (Toulouse), Souleymane Youla (Lille)
Morocco won the title back in 1976 and finished second at the 2004 tournament. They failed to make it out of the group stages two years ago but qualified impressively for this year's event as undefeated winners of their group.
Youssef Safri will be a familiar face to many English fans after spending seven years in the country taking in spells at Coventry, Norwich and currently Southampton.
One to watch: Youssef Hadji.
The forward has spent his entire career in France and is currently in his second spell with Ligue 1 side Nancy.
He has consistently grabbed goals in the French top-flight and has a good pedigree in that he is also the younger brother of former Aston Villa and Coventry midfielder and one time African Player of the Year Mustapha Hadji.
Squad: Abdelilah Bagui (Maghreb Fes), Khalid Fouhami (Raja Casablanca), Nadir Lamyaghri (Wydad Casablanca), Jamal Alioui (FC Sion), Abdessamad Chahiri (Difaa El Jadida), Mickael Chretien (Nancy), Talal El Karkouri (Qatar SC), El Armine Erbate (Al Dafra), Hicham Mahdoufi (Metalist Kharkiv), Abdeslam Ouaddou (Valenciennes), Soufiane Alloudi (Al Ain), Badr El Kaddouri (Dinamo Kiev), Abderrahmane Kabous (CSKA Sofia), Houcine Kharja (Piacenza), Abdelkrim Kissi (EN Paralimini), Youssef Safri (Southampton), Tarik Sektioui (FC Porto) Hicham Aboucherouane (Esperance), Maroune Chamakh (Girondins Bordeaux), Bouchaib El Moubarki (Grenoble), Youssef Hadji (Nancy), Youssef Moukhtari (Al Jazeera), Moncef Zerka (Nancy)
Namibia are making only their second appearance at the championships and were knocked out at the group stages in their only other showing back in 1998.
Their squad contains just three European based players with the majority of players playing their club football in the Namibian domestic league or the South African Premier Soccer League.
One to watch: Collin Benjamin.
A defensive midfielder who is known for his physical presence, pace and hard work, he currently plays for Bundesliga side Hamburg.
With Namibia expected to find the going tough, any success they have will depend on Benjamin's ability to frustrate and break up opposition attacks.
Squad: Athiel Mbaha (Orlando Pirates), Abisai Shiningayamwe (Jomo Cosmos), Aphraim Tjihonge (Black Leopards), Franklin April (Civics), Jeremiah Baisako (Ramblers), Richard Gariseb (Wits University), Gottlieb Nakuta (Blue Waters), Maleagi Ngarizemo (FC Cape Town), Michael Pienaar (Ramblers), Hartman Toromba (Black Leopards), Collin Benjamin (Hamburg SV), Brian Brendell (Civics), Quinton Jacobs (Bryne), Wycliff Kambonde (Jomo Cosmos), Jamunavandu Ngatjizeko (Civics), Sydney Plaatjies (Jomo Cosmos), Oliver Risser (unattached), Letu Shatimiene (Primeiro Agosto), Rudolf Bester (Eleven Arrows), Lazarus Kaimbi (Jomo Cosmos), Muna Katupose (Oshakati City), Jacob Pineas (Ramblers), Meraai Swartbooi (Primeiro Agosto)