Africa Cup of Nations play gets underway on Saturday with the opening matches of Group A. It's a group that features South Africa, which is hosting the marquee event, Angola, the Cape Verde Islands and Morocco.
The nearly month-long tournament features 16 teams. The top two teams in each of the four groups will advance to the knockout rounds. Zambia is the defending champion after last year's stunning run, which saw it upset Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
Here's a look at all the key information for Saturday's matches, followed by a preview and prediction for both, starting with South Africa against the Cape Verde Islands.
Where: National Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa
When: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET Saturday
Watch: EuroSport (Live stream only in U.S.)
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
South Africa vs. Cape Verde Islands
When South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup, it used an inspired performance in the opener to earn a draw with Mexico. Playing on home turf definitely makes an impact in these type of tournaments, especially in that first match when there's so much emotion.
Bafana Bafana will be hoping for a similar performance on Saturday. They are expected to rely heavily on the attacking duo of Katlego Mphela and Bernard Parker, who are also two of the most experienced international players on the squad.
The Blue Sharks will counter with a less experienced, but potentially dangerous squad. Only one player has received more than 25 appearances for the national team, but South Africa must be wary of Lille striker Ryan Mendes and midfielder Babanco.
Prediction: 2-1 South Africa
Angola vs. Morocco
While South Africa holds an edge in the tournament opener, the second match is more of a tossup. Both teams are receiving very little attention heading into the event, but the same thing could have been said about Zambia last year.
Angola's most potent player is striker Manucho, who's found the net 22 times in 44 international appearances. The 29-year-old Real Valladolid striker will likely be joined by fellow veterans Mateus and Gilberto on the attack, giving Angola a dangerous trio.
Morocco lacks experience but hopes its talent will prevail. Mehdi Benatia should be a rock at the back, but finding offense could be an issue for the Atlas Lions. Youssef El-Arabi needs to step up.
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