With so many of Africa's top teams failing to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, including defending champions Egypt, Ghana and the Ivory Coast have emerged as the two favorites in the tournament. Many were hoping that they would end up on opposite sides of the bracket, allowing for the two powerhouses to meet in the final, but that won't be the case. Assuming they win their groups and quarterfinal matches, Ghana and the Ivory Coast will meet in a much-hyped semifinal.
In the group stage, the Ivory Coast will have to take on Sudan, who were fantastic in qualifying. Botswana were the surprising team in qualifying, beating out Tunisia and Togo to win their group and they will be grouped with Ghana. That leaves Group B and Group D as the two toughest for the Cup of Nations, but as we've learned in African football, predictions and the expected are near useless because it's near a toss up.
Group A: Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Senegal, Zambia
Group B: Ivory Coast, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Angola
Group C: Gabon, Niger, Morocco, Tunisia
Group D: Ghana, Botswana, Mali, Guinea
The tournament will be joint-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. It kicks off on January 21 and runs through February 12, when the final will be played at Stade d'Angondjé in Libreville, Gabon.