The finest of Africa’s players will trade tackles as the quest to know the best African football team begins January 19 in South Africa.

Sixteen teams are vying for the trophy, which was last won by Zambia, a year ago, when Gabon and Equatorial Guinea co-hosted the championship.


Normally, the African Nations Cup is held every two years, so this year’s edition is special, as the Confederation of African football seeks to ensure that Africa’s biggest game is not held in the same year as football’s biggest fiesta, the FIFA World Cup.

US$53.3 million has been earmarked for the games and after a year full of flurry, the gladiators chosen and raring to go, South Africa is ready to host the impromptu  games.

If antecedents are anything to go by, the Rainbow Nation is set to do Africa proud by hosting yet another successful tournament, after all they hosted the World Cup in 2010, Africa Nations Cup in 1996, first time and they won, hosted the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and all climaxed in success.

Five cities will be hosting the fierce but healthy brotherly rivalry,  and they are …

Soccer City, Johannesburg, with  a capacity of 80,000 will host the opening and final matches of AFCON 2013


Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, built specifically for the 2010 World Cup, this stadium is named after a hero of the working class people in South Africa; Moses Mabhida , with 54,000 seats it will host all group A matches, except the final match in the Group stage between Cape Verde and Angola. The centre will also host a match in the quarter and semi final.


Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth will host eight matches including all the Group B matches except the final group game between DR Congo and Mali. The stadium can  accommodate up to 48,500 spectators. A quarter final match is also slated to hold at the venue.


Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit will host all Group C matches, the defending champion, Zambia and Nigeria are favorites in this group, other teams in the group are Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, at full capacity the stadium seats 41,000 spectators, the turf will also be ignited during the quarter finals as well as the semis.


Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, Rustenburg, the 42,000-seater stadium will  host six group stage games (all Group D matches except the final game between Togo and Tunisia) and and a quarter-final encounter. The venue and people of Rustenburg will be fortunate to host the last group game between Ethiopia and Nigeria.


Full Fixtures below


Group A
   (Durban unless stated)
   Jan 19
   At Johannesburg
   South Africa v Cape Verde 1600, Angola v Morocco 1900
   Jan 23
   South Africa v Angola 1500, Morocco v Cape Verde 1800
   Jan 27
   South Africa v Morocco 1700
   At Port Elizabeth
   Cape Verde v Angola 1700
   Group B
   (Port Elizabeth unless noted)
   Jan 20
   Ghana v DR Congo 1500, Mali v Niger 1800
   Jan 24
   Ghana v Mali 1500, Niger v DR Congo 1800
   Jan 28
   Ghana v Niger 1700
   At Durban
   DR Congo v Mali 1700
   Group C
   (Nelspruit unless noted)
   Jan 21
   Zambia v Ethiopia 1500, Nigeria v Burkina Faso 1800
   Jan 25
   Zambia v Nigeria 1500, Burkina Faso v Ethiopia 1800
   Jan 29
   Zambia v Burkina Faso 1700
   At Rustenburg
   Ethiopia v Nigeria 1700
   Group D
   (Rustenburg unless noted)
   Jan 22
   Ivory Coast v Togo 1500, Tunisia v Algeria 1800
   Jan 26
   Ivory Coast v Tunisia 1500, Algeria v Togo 1800
   Jan 30
   Ivory Coast v Algeria 1700
   At Nelspruit
   Togo v Tunisia 1700
   Feb 2
   At Port Elizabeth
   (1) Gp B winners v Gp A runners-up 1500
   At Durban
   (2) Gp A winners v Gp B runners-up 1830
   Feb 3
   At Rustenburg
   (3) Gp D winners v Gp C runners-up 1500
   At Nelspruit
   (4) Gp C winners v Gp D runners-up 1830
   Feb 6
   At Durban
   Winners quarter-final 2 v winners quarter-final 3 1500
   At Nelspruit
   Winners quarter-final 4 v winners quarter-final 1 1830
   Third place
   Feb 9
   At Port Elizabeth
   Semi-finals losers 1800
   Feb 10
   At Johannesburg
   Semi-finals winners 1800
   Match venues
   Johannesburg: Soccer City (94,000 capacity)
   Durban: Moses Mabhida Stadium (54,000)
   Nelspruit: Mbombela Stadium (41,000)
   Port Elizabeth: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (48,500)
   Rustenburg: Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace (42,000)


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