With defending champions Egypt and fellow big guns Nigeria and Cameroon failing to qualify for the 2012 African Cup of Nations, it seems a straight battle between Senegal and the Ivory Coast to win the tournament beginning on January 21st.
Senegal will feel that this is their best ever chance to win the tournament, with their best previous result being their appearance in the final in 2002, where they lost on penalties to Cameroon.
It is in the attacking department where Senegal are the most dangerous, with Newcastle’s Demba Ba leading the line.
Only Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie has netted more Premier League goals than Ba so far this season and if he brings this form to the tournament hosted jointly by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, then Senegal will be tough to stop.
Ba will be ably supported in attack by Freiburg’s Papiss Demba Cisse and Lille’s Moussa Sow and this threesome are sure to be tough to stop.
Senegal also remained unbeaten in qualification, despite being in the same group as Cameroon, and look way overpriced at 9/1 to win the African Cup of Nations.
The Ivory Coast are the 11/8 favourites to repeat their triumph of 1992 and this seems justified as they were the only team to retain a 100 per cent winning record through their six games in qualification.
A strong Premier backbone is also possessed by the Ivory Coast through the Toure brothers Kolo and Yaya, alongside Didier Drogba in attack.
Ghana progressed the furthest of the African nations at the 2010 World Cup and they will also be fancied to reach the final on February 12th.
Much of Ghana’s hopes will pin on the goals of Asamoah Gyan in attack and whether promising Marseille youngster Andre Ayew can bring his club form to the international stage.
It is 3/1 that Ghana win the African Cup of Nations.