It's an opportunity to see some of the best African countries showcased in a way that isn't available at the World Cup.
Group A action kicks off on January 19 with South Africa facing off with Cape Verde Islands. For those interested, ESPN will be airing the 16-team tournament, though most matches will be online
Group A: South Africa
South Africa midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala
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South Africa can no longer rely on former captain Steven Pienaar, who has retired from international football (h/t Ed Aarons of the BBC).
Last year's AFCON was nothing but embarrassment for South Africa, as the country celebrated a draw, believing it advanced though qualification.
It had not realized that goal differential was the tiebreaker, and as a result South Africa finished runner-up in its group and did not qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.
That wasn't a problem this year since it's hosting the tournament.
The hosts benefit from what is easily the weakest of the four groups. Despite a third-place finish in Group A at the 2010 World Cup, the BafanaBafana had a rather disappointing time the last time it hosted an international tournament.
In a group where one team fails to excel over its competition, South Africa is where the smart money should be.
Ghana is a team that should have been one of the massive favorites for this tournament.
However, SulleyMuntari has been largely disappointing during his career. Andre Ayew, who's done well at Marseille, has been left out of the roster for the Africa Cup of Nations (h/t Edmund OkaiGyimah of Goal.com).
Much like South Africa, Ghana won't have what would be a key player. A year after the 2010 World Cup, Kevin-Prince Boateng chose to retire from international football (viaIbrahim Sannie of the BBC).
Regardless, the Black Stars still have one of the best midfields in the Africa Cup of Nations with Anthony Annan, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu and KwadwoAsamoah.
The strength of that midfield could still get Ghana very far in this tournament.
Group C: Nigeria
Nigeria midfielder Joseph Yobo
Group C will almost certainly come down to either Zambia or Nigeria. BurkinaFaso and Ethiopia don't pose a huge threat.
Zambia captivated world football fans across the globe with its title at last year's Africa Cup of Nations. It was both a poignant and incredible run. Creating that kind of momentum and luck again will prove very difficult.
Nigeria was one of the best African countries in the mid-'90s to early 2000s. Recently, though, the country has fallen off a bit.
Manager Stephen Keshi has shifted out some of the more experienced players in favor of building around young players. It's worked very well, with Nigeria looking like a very solid unit.
Group D: Cote d'Ivoire
Cote d'Ivoire midfielder Cheick Tiote
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The Cote d'Ivoire squad is going to be the heavy favorite in this year's Africa Cup of Nations simply by virtue of having more star players than anybody else.
The Elephants can rely on the likes of DidierDrogba, Gervinho, Wilfried Bony, Yaya and Kolo Toure and Cheick Tiote.
Unfortunately, Cote d'Ivoire's recent history has been full of nothing but heartbreak. Journalist Jonathan Wilson did a very good job of recapping the disappointment on this week's Football Weekly Extrapodcast.
At last year's AFCON, the Elephants did not give up a single goal. They ended up losing to Zambia in a penalty shootout.
Algeria will be tough competition in Group D, but there's no way Cote d'Ivoire finishes anywhere outside the top spot.