Two former champions of the African Cup of Nations will square off in the opening round of competition, with Ghana taking on the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Both teams will be expected to qualify from Group B, so getting a good result from their opening match is pertinent to the chances of both teams here.
What can we expect from the Black Stars and the Leopards here?
Read on for a full preview as well as all the latest injury and team news.
Group: Group B, opening match
When: 20th January, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. ET
Where: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Latest news: Congo
Perhaps one of the biggest stories to take place prior to this match is the resignation of Congo manager Claude Le Roy just two days before the tournament (per Modern Ghana).
Le Roy had been in charge of the team for two years now, but was reportedly angry with the federation over the bonuses of the players which has affected morale in camp and thus forced him into handing his resignation to President Joseph Kabila.
Assistant Sebastian Migne has also resigned, with the Leopards players believed to have thrown their support completely behind the pair.
No new information is known on who the new manager will be at the tournament, or how this huge breaking news will affect Congo's performance throughout the competition.
Latest news: Ghana
Ghana will be without star André Ayew, who was reportedly left out of the team after failing to show up to a roll call prior to the tournament (per Africa Report).
Ayew was believed to be at the doctors working on his hamstring injury, but was sensationally left out of the final team—something that could affect the Black Stars dramatically here, though Ayew will no doubt be around behind the scenes.
Key players to watch
One of the favorites for the competitor, Ghana have a number of very talented individuals, but one to watch in particular is Kwadwo Asamoah.
Asamoah always performs well for the national team and given his strong form of late for Juventus, will no doubt be a dangerous threat in attack here.
For the Leopards, winning the battle in the middle of the field is crucial, and West Bromwich Albion midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu is central to that task.
Mulumbu has been solid for the Baggies this year, and will bring great pressure and intensity into the middle of the field here for Congo. However, whether it is enough to stop Ghana's dominant side from kicking off the tournament in style still remains to be seen.
Ghana are clearly the stronger of the two teams and under normal circumstances, would enter this match as slight favorites over Congo.
Yet with the news of Le Roy's resignation, Congo simply haven't had the preparation and buildup they would have desired and won't be able to match the Black Stars in this one.
Final score: Ghana 3, Congo 0
Who do you think will win this opening Group B clash?
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