The Africa Cup of Nations begins today in Gabon as 16 teams go to battle to be crowned the continent’s best football team. The hosts are hosting the continental showpiece for the second time in just five years.
Gabon co-hosted the 2012 edition with Equatorial Guinea, with Zambia winning the coveted trophy then.
The hosts were awarded the rights to host the event again by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), as replacement for Libya, which is riddled by war.
Libya was initially set to host the 2013 edition, but swapped years with South Africa which was to host the event in 2017. South Africa then hosted AFCON 2013.
With the civil war in Libya still not dealt with, Libya had to withdraw entirely from hosting the 2017 AFCON, and had to be replaced with Gabon.
Gabon will be hoping this chance to host the continental showpiece will give them a much needed home advantage to see them progress to latter stages.
The Panthers are the lowest ranked team going into the showpiece, standing at position 108 in the FIFA world rankings for January.
They will be hoping their star striker and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubamenyang is on his best form in the tournament if they are to have any shot at winning the trophy.
Here is a list of the AFCON groups;
- Burkina Faso
- Ivory Coast
- DR Congo