Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic
Captain: Didier Drogba
Nickname: The Elephants
Cup record: Winners 1992; Qualified 18 times
The Elephants go into the 2008 renewal as strong favourites to lift their first crown since 1992, when they beat Ghana 11-10 on penalties to claim their one and only triumph. The Elephants were widely fancied to break their duck two years ago but were sent crashing at the semi-final stage by eventual winners Egypt. With Premier League stars Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Kolo Toure in their ranks, as well as Barcelona midfielder and newly-crowned Ivory Coast Player of the Year Yaya Toure, the Elephants certainly look a formidable outfit.
Qualification: Underlining their credentials as contenders at both the World Cup and Nations Cup, the Elephants plundered their way through a dominant qualifying campaign. Mozambique, Madagascar and Botswana were all dispatched in the first round, while home and away wins against closest challengers Burkina Faso - in a group that also contained Malawi and Guinea helped the Elephants to an unbeaten campaign.
One to watch: Didier Drogba - It's difficult to look beyond the Elephants' talismanic striker when considering who their key player might be. Drogba is the Ivory Coast's all-time record scorer and after grabbing three goals at each of his previous two Nations Cups, the robust Chelsea forward will be determined to help guide his side to victory in Angola.
Trivia: Ivory Coast hold the record for the highest scoring penalty shoot-out win in international football history following their extraordinary 12-11 spot-kicks win over Cameroon at the 2006 competition. Didier Drogba, scorer of his side's winning penalty, can also lay claim to being the only player to have scored two penalties in a Nations Cup shoot-out. Samuel Eto'o had missed the chance to make that record his own moments before but sent his spot-kick soaring over the bar.
Soccernet prediction: Despite being among the favourites for the past two tournaments, the Elephants have not brought home the trophy. But led by an in-form Didier Drogba this could be the Elephants year. Winners.
Goalkeepers: Boubacar Barry (Lokeren), Aristide Zogbo (Maccabi Netanya), Vincent De Paul Angban (ASEC Mimosas)
Defenders: Abib Kolo Touré (Manchester City), Emmanuel Eboue (Arsenal), Guy Demel (Hamburg), Souleman Bamba (Hibernian), Benjamin Angoua Brou (Kispest Honved), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart), Abdoulaye Meite (West Bromwich Albion), Siaka Tiene (Valenciennes)
Midfielders: Yaya Toure (Barcelona), Didier Zokora (Sevilla), Emmanuel Kone (International Curtea de Arges), Cheik Ismael Tiote (FC Twente), Emerse Fae (OGC Nice), Jean-Jacques Gosso Gosso (AS Monaco)
Forwards: Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Salomon Kalou (Chelsea), Bakari Kone (Marseille), Kader Keita (Galatasaray), Aruna Dindane (Portsmouth), Gervais Yao Kouassi (Lille)
Coach: Paulo Duarte
Captain: Moumouni Dagano
Nickname: The Stallions
Cup record: Fourth place 1998; Qualified seven times (once as Upper Volta - 1978)
Qualify for the African Nations Cup, exit at the group stage. It's been a regularly employed formula by Burkina Faso, with the West African nation only advancing past the first round on one occasion. That was in 1998, when the Stallions, as hosts, were surprise semi-finalists - defeating Algeria, Guinea and 1998 World Cup finalists Tunisia, before exiting at the hands of eventual winners Egypt. The Stallions last Nations Cup campaign, in 2004, yielded just one goal but after easing to second place behind Ivory Coast in qualifying, a better performance is expected this time around.
Qualification: Burkina Faso finished top of their group in the first qualifying round after going unbeaten with five wins and a draw. Their best result came in the opening game, away to Tunisia, when a late Yssouf Koné brace gave the Stallions surprise victory against the 2004 African Nations Cup winners. Paulo Duarte's side peformed admirably in the final round, beating Malawi and Guinea home and away and losing narrowly 3-2, at home to the Ivory Coast. The only real blot on their qualifying campaign was an embarassing 5-0 away reversal to the Elephants in Abidjan.
One to watch: Moumouni Dagano - Burkina Faso's top scorer in World Cup qualifying will be their key attacking outlet in Angola. The former Sochaux and Guingamp forward has been outstanding for Qatar side Al-Khor this season, netting ten goals in 25 appearances. Dagano has a superb International scoring record of 21 goals in 43 games since making his debut for Burkina Faso back in 1999.
Trivia: Moumouni Dagano was the world's most prolific marksman in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup with 12 goals, but he shared the honour with Fiji forward Osea Vakatalesau.
Soccernet prediction: In any other group the Stallions would have had a genuine chance of making the quarter-finals, but they were dealt a cruel draw and will be pipped by Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Group stage exit.
Goalkeepers: Daouda Diakite (Mokawloo Al-Arab), Germain Sanou (Saint-Etienne), Adama Sawadogo (ASFA-Y).
Defenders: Ibrahim Gnanou (Alania Vladiskavkaz), Bakary Kone (Guingamp), Paul Koulibaly (Al Ittihiad Tripoli), Moussa Ouattara (Kaiserslautern), Madi Panandetiguiri (Leiria), Mamadou Tall (Leiria).
Midfielders: Charles Kabore (Marseille), Mahamoudou Kere (Charleroi), Mohamed Koffi (Petrojet), Aziz Nikiema (Qingdao Jonoon), Jonathan Pitroipa (Hambourg), Florent Rouamba (Sheriff Tiraspol), Sibiri Alain Traore (Auxerre).
Forwards: Habib Bamogo (OGC Nice), Aristide Bance (FSV Mayence), Moumouni Dagano (Al Khor), Youssouf Kone (CFR Cluj), Youssouf Ouattara (Leiria), Narcisse Yameogo (Migan), Patrick Zoundi (Fortuna Dusseldorf).
Coach: Milovan Rajevac
Captain: Michael Essien
Nickname: Black Stars
Cup record: Winners 1963, 1965, 1978, 1982; Qualified 17 times
After being knocked out of the 2008 tournament at the semi-finals, the Black Stars enter the 2010 competition with renewed vigour, having qualified for a second consecutive World Cup finals. The last-four defeat to Cameroon two years ago - when Ghana were hosts - is still a source of hurt but with Michael Essien back in the nick of time, Milon Rajevac's side have an excellent chance of lifting a fifth title, and first since 1982. Long gone are the days of "the Brazil of Africa" team of the 1960s that won back-to-back titles and reached four successive Nations Cup finals between 1963 and 1970. But the new generation has produced a polished side that has matured into a strong unit since flying the flag at the 2006 World Cup. Losing defensive rock John Mensah before the tournament was a blow, but the Black Stars will be challengers in Angola.
Qualification: The 'Black Stars' scraped through the first group stage, edging out Gabon and Libya for top spot on goal difference - despite having lost away to both sides - when all three were tied at the end of the group. In the final round, though, Ghana began to dominate, securing consecutive victories over Mali, Benin and Sudan (twice) without conceding a goal to book their place.
One to watch: Michael Essien -The one-man midfield powerhouse is the finest player to have emerged from Ghana since the legendary Abedi Pele. His ability to affect the game at both ends and a never-say-die attitude have served both club and country well and earned him a reputation as one of the most complete players of his generation. The absence of close friend Sulley Muntari in the Black Stars' midfield after recent disciplinary problems will increase the burden on Essien, but if anyone is equipped to single-handedly drag his side through the tournament it is surely the Chelsea star.
Trivia: The Ghanaian Olympic football team became the first African side to win a medal in football at the 1992 summer games in Barcelona. After seeing their hopes of a gold medal dashed by hosts Spain, the Black Meteors claimed the bronze medal with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Australia in the third/fourth place play-off.
Soccernet prediction: One of the favourites, it will be an interesting battle between the Black Stars and the Ivory Coast to see who comes out on top of Group B. But even if Ghana are pipped to winning the group, they have enough quality to reach the last four. Semi-finals.
Goalkeepers: Richard Kingson (Wigan Athletic), Daniel Agyei (Liberty Professionals), Philemon McCarthy (Hearts of Oak)
Defenders: Jonathan Mensah (Udinese), Hans Adu Sarpei (Bayer Leverkusen), Samuel Inkoom (Basel) Eric Addo (Roda JC) Isaac Vorsah (TSG Hoffenheim), Lee Addy (Bechem Chelsea) Harrison Afful (Esperance)
Midfielders: Ibrahim Ayew (Zamalek) Michael Essien (Chelsea) Anthony Annan (Rosenborg), Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese), Opoku Agyemang (Al Sadd) Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese) Moussa Narry (Auxerre) Andre Ayew (Arles-Avagnon)
Forwards: Matthew Amoah (NAC Breda) Asamoah Gyan (Rennes), Dominic Adiyiah (Fredrikstad FK) Haminu Draman (Locomotiv Moscow), Ransford Osei (FC Twente).
TOGO - WITHDRAWN
Coach: Hubert Velud
Captain: Emmanuel Adebayor
Nickname: The Sparrow Hawks
Cup record: First Round; Qualified seven times
In their six previous Nations Cup appearances, Togo have failed to make it past the group stages and go into this tournament on the back of an uninspiring qualifying campaign. The Sparrow Hawks surprised both the continent and the world when they qualified for a first World Cup in 2006, but have had an astonishing six managers in the three-and-a-half years since current Mali boss Stehen Keshi guided them to the Germany finals. Keshi returned after Otto Pfister - who replaced him for the finals- lost all three matches at the World Cup but he failed to engineer a revival in fortunes and Togo failed to qualify for the 2008 Nations Cup.
Qualification: Despite being drawn against Zambia and Swaziland in the first group stage of qualifying, Togo had to make do with a place as one of the eight best runners-up having lost twice away from home. They then proceeded to finish in third place in Group A in the final stage of qualifying, trailing in behind Cameroon and Gabon. A 1-0 win over Gabon on November 14, coupled with a defeat for Morocco at home to Cameroon, booked the Sparrow Hawks' place in the finals, although they missed out on the World Cup.
One to watch: Emmanuel Adebayor - The current African Footballer of the Year has scored goals aplenty at every level and will be looking to fire his side through a difficult group. His ability to create chances out of nothing and finish clinically combined with the qualities of defensive lynchpin Dare Nibombe could make Togo a surprise package, although it will depend on him returning to the squad.
Trivia: Aston Villa's Togolese midfielder Moustapha Salifou has played ten times more games for his country than current club. Salifou has made just four Premier League substitute appearances for Martin O'Neill's side since arriving at Villa Park in 2007, but has 40 international appearances under his belt.
Soccernet prediction: Will be desperate to prove themselves after failing to qualify for the World Cup and suffering tragedy before the tournament. Group stage exit.
Goalkeepers: Kossi Agassa (Istres), Baba Tchagouni (Dijon) Defenders:Boussari Akinsola (Enugu Rangers), Eric Akoto (Maccabi Ahi Nazareth), Vincent Bossou (Maranatha Fiokpo), Kakla Eninful (US Monastir), Richmond Forson (Thouars), Abdoul Gafar Mamah (Sheriff Tiraspol), Assimiou Toure (Bayer Leverkusen)
Midfielders: Komlan Amewou (Stromgodset), Guillaume Brenner (Alki), Floyd Ayite (Nancy), Thomas Dossevi (Nantes), Serge Gakpe (Monaco), Sapool Mani (Al Ittihad), Alaixys Romao (Grenoble), Moustapha Salifou (Aston Villa), Junior Yao Seneya (Dubaa Al Husun)
Forwards: Jonathan Ayite (Nimes), Emmanuel Adebayor (Manchester City), Liyabe Kpatoumbi (ASKO Kara).