Group D: Facts and figures

Cameroon, Gabon, Zambia and Tunisia

CAMEROON

Previous appearances in finals: 15

Best performance: Winners in 1984, 1988, 2000 and 2002, runners-up in 1986 and 2008

Coach:

Paul LeGuen took a short-term contract with Cameroon in July when they were bottom of their Nations Cup/World Cup qualifying group.

A championship-winning coach in France with Olympique Lyon, his star had dimmed after undistinguished spells at Rangers and Paris St Germain.

But with Cameroon, LeGuen has proved inspirational, producing a change in attitude on the back of a desire to build a truly professional setup around the team.

His plans resonated loudly with the players, who responded by winning four successive qualifiers and booking their place at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa and Nations Cup.

Key players:

Samuel Eto'o (Inter Milan). Age: 28. Forward

The three-times African Footballer of the Year has a distinguished collection of achievements to his name, including two Champions League winners medals with Barcelona, Olympic gold in Sydney and double success in the African Nations Cup finals, where he is also the tournament's all-time record scorer.

Jean Makoun (Olympique Lyon). Age: 26. Midfielder

Makoun is the engine room of the Cameroon side and already has considerable tournament experience from three Nations Cup finals. A 14 million euro ($20 million) buy for Lyon, Makoun initially made his name at Lille. He was dropped during the last Nations Cup in Ghana but has come back strongly over the last 18 months to reclaim his place at the heart of the midfield.

Achille Webo (Real Mallorca). Age: 27. Striker

Scorer of some vital goals for his country, including a hat-trick in past World Cup qualifiers. His entire professional career has been spent in the Spanish league. He seems to have settled into his role as back-up to Eto'o.

FIFA world ranking December 2009: 11th

Prospects:

Cameroon have been consistent performers at the Nations Cup over the last decade, including two titles and a surprising runners-up berth two years ago when they started the tournament poorly but recovered with typical fortitude.

Their side has shown much change recently with the transition from one generation to another but seem to be peaking at just the right time.

GABON

Previous appearances in finals: 3

Best performance: Quarter-finalists in 1996

Coach:

Alain Giresse played in the World Cup finals with France and was a member of their European Championship winning side in 1984.

His coaching career has been less distinguished with spells at Toulouse and Paris St Germain in Ligue 1 and overseas assignments at Royal Armed Forces of Morocco and Georgia's national team.

His latest venture is with Gabon, who he put into contention for a possible World Cup finals place before reality set in and they lost three of their last four qualifying matches.

Key players:

Daniel Cousin (Hull City). Age: 32. Forward

Debuted for Gabon at the 2000 African Nations Cup finals in Ghana but spent several years in self-imposed exile thereafter, not prepared to put up with the vagaries of poor organisation around the team. He was persuaded back four years later and appointed captain.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Lille). Age: 20. Forward

Son of a former Gabon captain, Aubameyang was born in France but grew up in Italy, where he was a junior at AC Milan. Aubameyang played for France's under-21 side last year but then changed his allegiance and agreed to play for Gabon, scoring on his debut. His two brothers have also won caps for the central African country.

Didier Ovono (Le Mans). Age: 26. Goalkeeper

Ovono moved to France in June after playing at Dinamo Tbilisi in Georgia. He has been a regular for his new club, who are struggling near the foot of Ligue 1. Ovono left Gabon to play at Allanza in El Salvador for a season, one of just a handful of African exports to Central America.

FIFA world ranking December 2009: 48th

Prospects:

Gabon's small population, estimated at some 1.5 million, means they are always going to struggle to qualify for the Nations Cup and they have missed the four preceding tournaments.

Gabon were in front in the group standings at the halfway stage of their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign but were easily overhauled by resurgent neighbours Cameroon, who once again had too much ammunition for them.

That should also be the case in their Nations Cup group where Gabon meet Cameroon again as well as the might of Tunisia and Zambia in Lubango.

ZAMBIA

Previous appearances in finals: 13

Best performance: Runners-up in 1974 and 1994

Coach:

Herve Renard was assistant coach with hosts Ghana at the last Nations Cup but signed six months later to take charge of Zambia, his first senior job.

The 41-year-old played at Cannes in France before working under compatriot Claude LeRoy in China, England and with Ghana's Black Stars.

In some 18 months in charge of Zambia, he has already had 30 matches with 13 wins, eight draws and nine defeats.

Key players:

Chris Katongo (Arminia Bielefeld). Age: 27. Midfielder

Zambia's captain is one of the quickest players in German league football but inconsistent in front of goal. He was promoted to sergeant in the Zambian army for his footballing prowess but has since embarked on a professional career in South Africa, Denmark and now Germany.

Collins Mbesuma (Moroka Swallows). Age: 25. Forward

A burly striker who is looking to use the tournament to restore a tarnished reputation. Four years ago, Mbesuma won a move to Portsmouth in England on the back of scoring 30 goals in a season with South Africa's Kaizer Chiefs, but he barely made an impression and also failed with subsequent moves to Turkey and Portugal. He is now back in the squad, having returned to club football in South Africa.

Kennedy Mweene (Free State Stars) Age: 25. Goalkeeper

Mweene is heading to his third successive Nations Cup, having established a reputation as a fine shot stopper and a vital part of his team's make-up. Mweene has been the team's undisputed first choice for some five years. He moved from Kitwe United to the South African premier league club Free State Stars in 2005.

FIFA world ranking December 2009: 84th

Prospects:

The consistent Zambians will compete at the Nations Cup for the 10th time in the last 11 editions.

But they have not made it past the first round since reaching the semi-finals in 1996.

Their last five tournament appearances have all ended in early exits and the prospect of going home before the knockout phase again must be considered a strong possibility.

TUNISIA

Previous appearances in finals: 13

Best performance: Winners in 2004, runners-up in 1965 and 1996.

Coach:

Faouzi Benzarti was appointed in November, replacing Portuguese Humberto Coelho, who was sacked after Tunisia lost out on a World Cup place on a dramatic last day of qualification.

It is the second time the 59-year-old has been parachuted in as an emergency trainer for the Nations Cup.

Previously, he was brought in after Tunisia lost the opening game of the 1994 finals, which they hosted.

At club level Benzarti won the African Champions Cup with Esperance in 1994.

Key players:

Issam Jomaa (Racing Lens). Age: 25. Forward

Tunisia's most prolific scorer over the last years although he has been unable to replicate that form at club level with Racing Lens in France. Jomaa won the Tunisian championship with Esperance in 2003 and 2004 before making the move to Europe, where it had been anticipated he would make a major impact.

Karim Haggui (Hanover 96). Age: 25. Defender

Already approaching 50 caps, Haggui is one of the few regulars in a Tunisian side that has seen a myriad of new faces over the last two years. Haggui moved after just one season with Etoile Sahel to France and then on to Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. He played all six matches when Tunisia won the Nations Cup in 2004.

Chaouki Ben Saada (Nice) Age: 25. Midfielder.

A former winner of the world under-17 championship with France, Ben Saada was among the first wave of players to take advantage when FIFA introduced new rules allowing young players to switch their international allegiance. He played for Tunisia at the last two Nations Cup finals and was also in their 2006 World Cup squad.

FIFA world ranking December 2009: 53rd

Prospects:

Tunisia have made several changes to their squad since the disappointment of narrowly missing out on World Cup qualification.

A new coach and a younger team means they are likely to have lost a little of their edge but they remain a perennial force in the African game.

Traditionally, Tunisia are poor travellers and find it hard to adapt to conditions south of the Sahara.