Egypt, Nigeria, Mozambique and Benin
Previous appearances in finals: 21
Best performance: Winners in 1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006 and 2008
Hassan Shehata achieved as coach what he failed as player in winning the Nations Cup title with Egypt in 2006.
He played in three tournaments during his decade-long spell in the Egyptian national team. Shehata won a second title in 2008 but failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup means his tenure is likely to end unless the Pharoahs can win a third successive Nations Cup as consolation.
Hosni Abd Rabou (Al Ahli Dubai). Age: 25. Midfielder.
Named as the best player at the last Nations Cup in Ghana where his set pieces, powerful shooting and hard graft in midfield stood out. Although Abd Rabou only made his debut for Egypt five years ago, he has amassed 67 caps and was part of the country's last two Nations Cup winning sides
Ahmed Hassan (Al Ahli). Age: 35. Midfielder
The tireless midfielder has 153 caps and will be playing in a seventh Nations Cup, one less than record holder Rigobert Song of Cameroon. Hassan is the only player to have won three Nations Cup titles and was named the best player at the 2006 edition.
Emad Moteab (Al Ahli). Age: 26. Forward.
Scorer of 29 international goals, Moteab is pacey and creative but has a poor ratio of chances converted. He will have added responsibility in Angola where he leads the attack alongside German-based Mohamed Zidan in the absence of injured Amr Zaki and the dropped Mido.
FIFA world ranking December 2009: 24th
Egypt seek to become the first side to win the Nations Cup three times in a row, as much to set a new landmark for the competition as to make up for the major disappointment of again missing out on World Cup qualification.
A loss to bitter rivals Algeria in a play-off in November could spell the end of a golden era for the Egyptians or be cause for renewed focus and vigour.
Previous appearances in finals: 15
Best performance: Winners in 1980 and 1994; Runners-up in 1984, 1988, 1990 and 2000
Shaibu Amodu has had nine spells as coach of Nigeria, all but two of them as a caretaker after working as an assistant to a myriad of expatriate trainers.
Amodu helped Nigeria qualify for the 2002 World Cup but was fired before the tournament because his team only reached the semi-finals of the Nations Cup in Mali.
Having taken the Super Eagles to the 2010 World Cup, he could face the same fate if they fail to win the title in Angola.
Nwankwo Kanu (Portsmouth). Age: 33. Midfielder
Kanu will be competing in a sixth Nations Cup but has never won the title. The veteran ball wizard has never been able to replicate club form in the colours of Nigeria but is still used as an effective impact player in key matches.
Taye Taiwo (Olympique Marseille). Age: 24. Defender
A past winner of the award for Africa's best young player, Taiwo is a flying fullback with almost 150 appearances in France's Ligue 1. He is best known for his powerful shooting, particularly at set pieces. He was recently dropped for key World Cup qualifiers but is likely to be restored to the Super Eagles' starting line-up in Angola.
Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Everton). Age: 27. Forward.
An Achilles tendon injury kept Aiyegbeni sidelined for almost a year but he has been back in action since August, albeit scoring just a single goal for Everton in the English Premier League this season. He was sent home by Nigeria for indiscipline during the 2004 Nations Cup but is now their key striker.
FIFA world ranking December 2009: 22nd
Nigeria are consistently considered among the front runners for the title but have not actually won it since 1994.
They have reached the semi-finals in four of the last five tournaments and were denied two years ago by hosts Ghana in the quarter-finals.
With the World Cup six months away, Nigeria will be closely watched in Angola for their potential.
Previous appearances in finals: 3
Best performance: First round
Mart Nooij was a journeyman instructor with the Dutch federation, who worked in Burkina Faso before moving to Mozambique.
He took the Burkinabe under-20 side to the world youth championships in the United Arab Emirates in 2003 but Mozambique is his first senior job.
He was under the threat of dismissal 18 months ago but is now a hero after Mozambique qualified for the Nations Cup for the first time in more than decade.
Domingues (Mamelodi Sundowns). Age: 25. Midfielder
A creative, slightly-built winger who was named the best player in the South African league two seasons ago. Known to Mozambican fans by his footballing nickname Domingues, at club level he is called by his official name, Elias Pelembe.
Simao (Panathinaikos). Age: 21. Midfielder
The defensive midfielder has been a revelation in Greece since arriving as an anonymous foreign signing in 2007. He was first used as a defender, where he plays mainly for Mozambique, but later shifted in front of the back four, a position where he has been used in UEFA Champions League action.
Dario Monteiro (SuperSport United). Age: 32. Forward
A regular scorer during seven seasons with Portuguese first division side Academica Coimbra, Monteiro is now in the twilight of his career, playing for South African champions SuperSport United. His career has also taken him to the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus.
FIFA world ranking December 2009: 72nd
Mozambique have been to three previous Nations Cup tournaments - in 1986, 1996 and 1998 - and have managed one draw and eight defeats in their nine outings.
They are again likely to struggle to get past the first round and their opening match against Benin on January 12 in Benguela will set the tone.
They can draw heart from two good performances against Nigeria in the last nine months.
Previous appearances in finals: Two
Best performance: First round
Michel Dussuyer has been to the Nations Cup before as coach of Guinea in 2004, leading them to the quarter-finals, and as assistant to fellow Frenchman Henri Michel when Ivory Coast were runners-up four years ago.
The quietly spoken 50-year-old has also coached at French club Cannes in between his African assignments.
Stephane Sessegnon (Paris St Germain). Age 27. Midfielder
Benin's best-known player, originally from Ivory Coast, is often criticised for an alleged lack of dedication to the national cause. Despite his inconsistency, he is a quality attacking midfielder, reflected by his estimated 9 million euros ($13 million) transfer from Ligue 1 side Le Mans to Paris St Germain.
Mouri Ogunbiyi (Guingamp). Age: 27. Midfielder
A former winner of the African Champions League during his spell at Etoile Sahel in Tunisia, Ogunbiyi has recently fallen foul of Benin coach Dussuyer's disciplinary code but his tricky wing play makes him an invaluable member of the side. Ogunbiyi played for Benin on their Nations Cup debut in 2004 but was left out two years ago.
Razak Omotoyossi (Metz). Age: 24. Forward
Omotoyossi left his native Nigeria for neighbouring Benin after being banned for hitting a referee and was very quickly given citizenship and drafted into the national team. He was top goalscorer in the Swedish league during a stint with Helsingborg.
FIFA world ranking December 2009: 59th
One of the smallest countries in the Nations Cup field, qualifying for Angola is already an achievement for Benin.
They have lost all six of their previous matches at the finals and their main ambition in Angola will be to pick up their first points at the tournament.
Their opening Group C against Mozambique in Benguela on January 12 offers an excellent chance.comments