The final draw for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations is in, and there are plenty of great matchups and interesting groups for soccer fans to look forward to.
The tournament will begin on January 19th and crown a champion on February 10. The matches will be held in South Africa and in five different stadiums: FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth and Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.
Let's take a look at the groups and then discuss some things to look forward to.
Final Draw (according to BBC)
Group A: South Africa, Cape Verde, Morocco, Angola
Group B: Ghana, DR Congo, Niger, Mali
Group C: Zambia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Burkina Faso
Group D: Ivory Coast, Togo, Tunisia, Algeria
Nigeria has been a traditional power, but they will enter this tournament with much to prove after losing in the quarterfinals last time around to eventual champions, Zambia. And wouldn't you know it, they are in the same group as Zambia.
Zambia have struggled since winning the last tournament, and they barely qualified for this year's tournament, but they remain a talented group that cannot be counted out.
This is going to make Group C perhaps the most interesting of the four groups.
However, Group D is not far behind in that regard. The Ivory Coast should be considered a favorite to take this tournament after making the finals in 2012.
Don't tell that to their competition, though. Togo coach Didier Six had this quote in the above linked BBC article:
Do you think that after the Ivorian match that I watched we cannot beat them? We will. There is no problem.
Them's fightin' words! I love it. And Six isn't just full of hollow bravado. His side has been playing well. The whole group has been, and top to bottom that is the toughest group of this bunch.
This tournament is creeping up. It will be fiercely contested, and chances are it will be full of surprises.