Twelve months after Zambia stunned Africa with an emotional Nations Cup win against Côte d'Ivoire, the best teams in the continent once again compete for this prestigious trophy, with the competition being realigned to take place on odd-numbered years.
South Africa have had recent experience of hosting a major tournament after the 2010 World Cup took place here and the National Stadium and four other grounds will be the setting for the 2013 African Cup of Nations, with the latest odds suggesting that there is one particular team to beat.
The Ivory Coast are widely regarded as the most formidable team in Africa, although the Elephants are the perennial bridesmaids when it comes to this tournament, with Sabri Lamouchi now briefed to go one better than many of his predecessors and ensure the team live up to their potential.
The Ivorians only had themselves to blame for failing to beat Zambia in Gabon, although BetVictor’s best price of 15/8 will still be a popular bet considering that Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure and Gervinho are just three of many talented players that form the mainstay of this squad.
However, you can’t underestimate the power of home support and South Africa could well make a serious impact at the 2013 Cup of Nations, with Paddy Power going 9/1 about a team that only have seven previous appearances in this competition although they did claim victory in 1996.
Bafana Bafana will now have Everton’s Steven Pienaar in their squad, although there are many players who ply their trade for South African teams such as Bernard Parker who represents Kaizer Chiefs.
Ghana have traditionally been regarded as the main power to challenge the Ivory Coast and it would be no surprise to see the two teams lining up against each other, although the Black Stars haven’t triumphed since 1992. That hasn’t stopped the bookies going 7/1 (Coral) that the Ghanaians are victorious in South Africa.
Nigeria feature this time around and will look to put in-fighting behind them and turn a new page in their football legacy, while Zambia’s team spirit was very much in evidence twelve months ago and they will believe it’s their destiny to claim the spoils again.
The Top Goalscorer market features some familiar names, including former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba who is a 9/2 chance to break the deadlock, while Asamoah Gyan is an 8/1 poke and Sunderland fans will remember his brief spell on Wearside before switching for Qatar.