Africa Cup Of Nations 2012: Player Profiles

Asamoah Gyan of Ghana celebrates after he scores the equalising goal during the international friendly match between England and Ghana at Wembley Stadium in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

In the build-up to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, we'll be profiling some of the best-known players in the tournament, as well as some lesser-known players looking to guide their teams to upsets and become stars.

There was once a time when the Africa Cup of Nations did a very good job of putting lesser-known players on the world stage, setting them up for big moves. While the presence of smaller teams in this year's tournament will give a showcase to players in marginal leagues, most of the eyes will be on guys who are already established European stars.

The likes of Demba Ba, Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba are among the best players in the Premier League. Seydou Keita is a regular for Barcelona, Papiss Demba Cisse is one of the top strikers in the Bundesliga, and Kwadwo Asamoah is one of the top midfielders in Serie A. The Africa Cup of Nations will not be the first world stage for these players, because they're already stars.

However, some of the best players from the second tier of African teams will have a chance to gain new fans and a big transfer to a new club, as well as guide their teams to a great finish in the tournament. Over the next week, we'll profile some stars that you've seen dozens of times, as well as some guys you're unfamiliar with or that you've only vaguely heard of.

We'll be profiling 16 players, right here in this StoryStream.

Asamoah Gyan (Ghana), Emmanuel Mayuka (Zambia), Demba Ba (Senegal), Didier Drogba (Cote D'Ivoire), Adel Taarabt (Morocco), Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana), Issam Jemaa (Tunisia), Yaya Toure (Cote D'Ivoire), Djalma (Angola), Seydou Keita (Mali), Jordan Ayew (Ghana), Jamel Saihi (Tunisia), Jonathan Pitroipa (Burkina Faso), Seydou Doumbia (Cote D'Ivoire), Papiss Demba Cisse (Senegal), Mehdi Benatia (Morocco)

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