Best Performance: Debut.
Key Player: Rodolfo Bodipo, striker (pictured).
Coach: Gilson Paulo (Brazil).
FIFA Ranking: No. 150.
Nickname: Nzalang Nacional.
The lowly ranked co-hosts have no previous experience at a major tournament and are now without experienced former France coach Henri Michel, who resigned just weeks before the tournament. New coach Paulo has had little time to mold his team, which likely faces an early exit at home.
Best Performance: Runner-up in 1982.
Key Player: Samir Aboud, goalkeeper (pictured); Djamal Mahamat, midfielder.
Coach: Marcos Paqueta (Brazil).
FIFA Ranking: No. 63.
Nickname: Mediterranean Knights.
Emerged from civil war and chaos at home to reach African Cup of Nations for the third time. Boosted by a strong team unity under Libya's new flag, the side will aim to continue a fairy tale rise. Inspirational goalkeeper Samir Aboud was nominated for Africa's 2011 player of the year award at 39.
Best Performance: Runner-up in 2002.
Key Player: Souleymane Diawarra, defender; Demba Ba, striker (pictured); Moussa Sow, striker.
Coach: Amara Traore (Senegal).
FIFA Ranking: No. 44.
Nickname: Teranga Lions.
One of the teams capable of challenging Ivory Coast and Ghana for the title. Has strong forward line of Newcastle striker Demba Ba, Lille forward Moussa Sow and Freiburg striker Papiss Demba Cisse. Has not realized its potential since making African Cup final and World Cup quarterfinals 10 years ago.
Best Performance: Runner-up in 1974 and 1994.
Key Player: Isaac Chansa, midfielder (pictured); Collins Mbesuma, striker.
Coach: Herve Renard (France).
FIFA Ranking: No. 79.
Nickname: Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets).
Coach Herve Renard returned for a second spell in charge after Dario Bonetti qualified the team for the final tournament and was then replaced. Will badly miss FC Utrecht forward Jacob Mulenga and holding midfielder Thomas Nyirenda, who are injured. May not be able to challenge big teams without them.
Best Performance: Quarterfinals in 2008 and 2010.
Key Player: Kali, defender; Manucho, striker; Djalma, forward (pictured).
Coach: Lito Vidigal (Angola).
FIFA Ranking: No. 83.
Nickname: Sable Antelopes.
Relative newcomer to the African Cup, first qualifying in 1996. Quarterfinalist in the last two tournaments, the team has been consistent recently and qualified at the top of its group for 2012. Should get goals from former Manchester United striker Manucho and Belgium-based Flavio.
Best Performance: Semifinals in 1998.
Key Player: Alain Traore, midfielder; Jonathan Pitroipa, midfielder (pictured).
Coach: Paulo Duarte (Portugal).
FIFA Ranking: No. 62.
Participation was in doubt after being accused of fielding ineligible player in qualifying with Cameroon-born defender Herve Zengue. But the team was cleared and hopes to reach quarterfinals behind Ivory Coast. Zengue was left out of final squad, while 16-year-old Chelsea player Bertrand Traore was a surprise call up.
Best Performance: Champion in 1992.
Key Player: Didier Drogba, striker; Gervinho, striker; Yaya Toure, midfielder (pictured).
Coach: Francois Zahoui (Ivory Coast).
FIFA Ranking: No. 16.
Littered with world-class players and the most impressive qualifier with six wins from six games. Africa's top-ranked team, has Africa's 2011 player of the year in midfield general Yaya Toure and tipped for a second title. However, has sometimes underperformed when there's plenty of expectation.
Best Performance: Champion in 1970.
Key Player: Haitham Mustafa, midfielder (pictured).
Coach: Mohamed Abdallah (Sudan).
FIFA Ranking: No. 113.
Nickname: Falcons of Jediane.
Host of the first African Cup in 1957, runner-up in 1959 and 1963 and champion in 1970. Recent record is not as impressive. Since Sudan lifted the trophy 42 years ago, has been to just four tournaments and hasn't won a game. Higher hopes this time after solid qualifying run.
Best Performance: Quarterfinals in 1996.
Key Player: Cedric Moubamba, midfielder; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, striker (pictured).
Coach: Gernot Rohr (Germany).
FIFA Ranking: No. 77.
A selection of France-based players but, like fellow co-host Equatorial Guinea, has played little competitive football in the last two years and could be short of match practice. Faces a tough battle against former champions Morocco and Tunisia to reach the quarterfinals, the least the home fans expect.
Best Performance: Champion in 1976.
Key Player: Houssine Kharja, midfielder; Adel Taarabt, midfielder (pictured); Marouane Chamakh, striker.
Coach: Eric Gerets (Belgium).
FIFA Ranking: No. 61.
Nickname: Atlas Lions.
Could be an outside shot for success with Houssine Kharja and Adel Taarabt calling the shots and clever Belgian coach Eric Gerets in charge. The form of Marouane Chamakh will be crucial as the Arsenal forward has had little first team action with his English club ahead of the tournament.
Best Performance: Debut.
Key Player: Kassaly Daouda, goalkeeper, Moussa Maazou, striker (pictured).
Coach: Harouna Doula (Niger).
FIFA Ranking: No. 97.
Provided a huge shock to reach the final tournament for the first time, beating out South Africa and seven-time champion Egypt. Not expected to progress from a group containing Gabon, Morocco and Tunisia, but no one gave 2011 African coach of the year Harouna Doula and his team a chance of even qualifying.
Best Performance: Champion in 2004.
Key Player: Oussama Darragi, midfielder; Issam Jemaa, striker (pictured).
Coach: Sami Trabelsi (Tunisia).
FIFA Ranking: No. 59.
Nickname: Carthage Eagles.
Inconsistent qualifying campaign where it squeezed through as one of three second-place teams. Tunisia's tournament will likely be defined by its opening game against North African rival Morocco. Both want to take advantage after three-time defending champion Egypt didn't make it.
Best Performance: Debut.
Key Player: Dipsy Selolwane, midfielder (pictured); Jerome Ramatlhakwane, striker.
Coach: Stanley Tshosane (Botswana).
FIFA Ranking: No. 95.
Won a group containing former champion Tunisia and 2006 World Cup finalist Togo to finally qualify after 20 years of trying. Has no stars, making the achievement more impressive, but now drawn against powerhouses Ghana and Mali. Voted Africa's 2011 team of the year.
Best Performance: Champion in 1963, 1965, 1978, 1982.
Key Player: Sulley Muntari, midfielder; Andre Ayew, winger; Asamoah Gyan, striker (pictured).
Coach: Goran Stevanovic (Serbia).
FIFA Ranking: No. 29.
Nickname: Black Stars.
The most successful team at the tournament in Egypt and Cameroon's absence. Expects to end a 30-year title drought despite missing Michael Essien and Kevin Prince Boateng. Ivory Coast is favored but Ghana was third and second in the last two African Cups and was also a World Cup quarterfinalist.
Best Performance: Runner-up in 1976.
Key Player: Ismael Bangoura, striker (pictured).
Coach: Michel Dussuyer (France).
FIFA Ranking: No. 80.
Nickname: Syli Nationale (National Elephants).
Guinea reached three straight quarterfinals between 2004-08. Although it missed out last time, the team performs well when at the tournament. Qualified unbeaten and ahead of Nigeria. Now 27, striker Ismael Bangoura played in 2006 and leads the charge with plenty more experience six years later.
Best Performance: Runner-up in 1972.
Key Player: Seydou Keita, midfielder (pictured).
Coach: Alain Giresse (France).
FIFA Ranking: No. 67.
Success depends on whether Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita can put aside a rocky history with the national federation and perform. A candidate alongside Senegal to challenge Ivory Cost and Ghana, but Senegal hasn't reached the knockout stages since it made the semifinals in 2004. Also now without striker Frederic Kanoute.