In less than one week, most of the world’s football fans will almost definitely be keeping an eye on the Coupe d’Afrique des Nations or Africa Cup of Nations to anyone who doesn’t understand FIFA’s official language (French). So I’ve taken it upon myself to have a look at what we can expect and give you my opinion, how nice am I? Up first is the part everyone is desperate to know about, the mascot.

That guy you can see is Gaguie, he is obviously a gorilla and wears a green, white and blue jersey, the colours of Gabon and Equitorial Guinea, the host nations. There’s a video you can search on-line that introduces him but it included too many pelvic thrusts for me to deal with.

Above is the official match ball for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, made by those wonderful dudes at Adidas and creatively named the Comoequa, which was inspired by the Como River that runs through the host nations and the equator which unites them. Plus the ball is yellow which is always cool.

Four stadiums will be used for this tournament. Two in Equitorial Guinea, one of which will host the opening match, a semi final and a 3rd place play-off, and two in Gabon, one of which will host the other semi final and the final.

On the Equatorial Guinea side we have the 37,500 capacity Estadio de Bata (bottom right) and the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo (bottom left) which can hold 15,250. In Gabon the Stade de Franceville (top right) holds 35,000, and of course the largest stadium at the event and the one which will host the final the Stade de l’Amitié (top left) with a 40,000 capacity.

The groups for the tournament are as follows:

I will look more in depth at the groups in upcoming articles which will be released sporadically throughout this upcoming week before the competition kicks off on Saturday the 21st of January, all games can be watched on British Eurosport (Sky 410 and Virgin 521) and British Eurosport 2 (Sky 411 and Virgin 521) and highlights can be found on both channels at 11.30pm on each matchday.

And one last thing before I go, This is what they’ll all be playing for…

By Mark McInnes

Follow him on twitter @itspartymarky