Trophy ambitions for Senegal, Zambia
Even the Côte d'Ivoire duo of Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou pales when compared to the talent at coach Amara Traore's disposal, which includes the likes of Demba Ba, Moussa Sow, Papiss Demba Cisse, Mamadou Niang and Dame N'Doye.
Ba has been a revelation at Newcastle United this season, scoring more English Premier League goals than Wayne Rooney and striking the volley that triggered a St James Park rout of Manchester United. Magpies coach Alan Pardew has raved about Ba being a "versatile born winner" and has added Cisse, who was runner-up in the 2010/2011 Bundesliga scoring charts, to his squad during the January transfer window.
Sow made the top five in the 2011 African Footballer of the Year poll after being the leading French Ligue 1 marksman last season, while helping Lille to a league-cup double. And, Niang from Qatar-based Asian champions Al-Sadd grabbed the hat-trick that got the Senegalese qualifying campaign off to a winning start in Congo DR.
N'Doye is a consistent scorer, too, netting 25 in 31 matches as FC Copenhagen captured the Danish title, and leaving former national team player Traore with a selection headache rival coaches would gladly suffer.
While Traore ponders his attacking options ahead of the late-evening showdown at the Estadio de Bata, Zambia coach Herve Renard needs to solve a goal drought with leading striker Jacob Mulenga out of the Cup of Nations through injury.
France-born Renard has been upbeat ahead of his second consecutive appearance at the tournament with Zambia and believes they can improve on a last-eight placing in Angola two years ago. "My dream is to win the Cup of Nations in Libreville because a great part of Zambian football history was written there," he said referring to a 1993 plane crash off Gabon that killed 18 players en route to Senegal.
"Imagine if we could lift the trophy - it would be a fantastic way to honour the memories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the land they loved. Although my team are not among the favourites, we can win this Cup. All we need is hard work and commitment," said Renard.