Group A: Facts and figures

Angola, Mali, Malawi and Algeria

ANGOLA

Previous appearances in finals: 4

Best performance: Quarter-finalists in 2008

Coach:

Former Benfica coach Manuel Jose was parachuted into the Angola job six months before the Nations Cup after a year of poor results and two managerial changes for the host nation.

Jose, 64, went eight games without defeat after taking charge as he sought to restructure the side. The Portuguese won 20 different trophies in two illustrious spells at Egyptian giants Al Ahli, including four African Champions League successes and went more than 18 months without losing a league game.

Key players:

Flavio (Al Shabab). Age: 30. Forward

The author of Angola's only goal at the 2006 World Cup finals and a consummate scorer at club level both in Egypt and the African Champions League. Flavio has never played any club football in Europe but is an icon in the Arabic-speaking world after his exploits at Al Ahli of Cairo and now in Saudi Arabia.

Manucho (Real Valladolid). Age: 23. Forward

An impressive performance at the last Nations Cup finals in Ghana ensured a move to Manchester United for the striker but in the two subsequent years his prospects have slipped quickly, via a loan spell at Hull City, to midtable Valladolid in Spain. Manucho almost did not make the squad after being suspended for disciplinary reasons but ultimately Angola have decided they need his attacking ability.

Gilberto (Al Ahli). Age: 27. Midfielder

An exciting left winger who tore an Achilles tendon at the 2006 Nations Cup in Egypt and was out for almost two years, including the last World Cup in Germany. A winner of the African Champions League with his Egyptian club, he has spent the last six years playing in north Africa.

FIFA world ranking December 2009: 95th

Prospects:

Angola showed surprise potential to qualify for the 2006 World Cup and with home advantage in the Nations Cup could again spring a shock. They have not had any competitive action over the last year but coach Manuel Jose is a wily operator expected to inspire them with the necessary confidence. Injuries to midfielder mainstay Andre and overlapping fullback Yamba Asha weaken the side.

MALI

Previous appearances in finals: 5

Best performance: Runners-up 1972

Coach:

Stephen Keshi was captain when Nigeria l