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Goal.com takes an in depth look at each of the 16 national teams aiming to make their mark on Africa's most popular competition

The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations is fast approaching, and the 16 teams that will be aiming to become continental champions have been decided.

The 2013 Afcon takes place from 19 January to February 10, and it is to be held in the 2010 World Cup host nation, South Africa.

History will be written on February 10 at Soccer City in Johannesburg, as the 29th Africa Cup of Nations comes to a climax and a winner is crowned.

Goal.com introduces you to the 16 teams that will be taking part in this highly-anticipated competition. Here we profile the Black Stars of Ghana.

AFCON HISTORY

Best Performance
Winners - 1963, 1965, 1978 & 1982
Champions
1963, 1965, 1978 & 1982
Runners-Up
2010
Third Place
2008
Fourth Place
2012

HOW THEY QUALIFIED

The Black Stars of Ghana will be seeking to annex the trophy for the fifth time, as it has eluded them since Libya 1982 and they showed that they really mean business by dispatching Malawi by beating them 2-0 in Accra and 1-0 in Lilongwe to book a place in the 2013 Afcon.

THE COACH | KWESI APPIAH


After having three Serbians as coaches of the Black Stars in series, the west African country settled on their own man James Kwesi Appiah, who served as the assistant coach of the team since 2008 and gained a great deal of experience to propel the team forward.

The former Ghana captain was part of the team when the nation lifted its fourth Afcon trophy 30 years ago, and he is hoping to win the competition now that he finds himself on the touchline.

THE CAPTAIN | ASAMOAH GYAN


Al Ain striker Asamoah Gyan was a couple of weeks ago appointed as the permanent captain of the side after acting in that capacity during the qualifying games with Malawi, and he is expected to lead the team to glory.

Gyan has taken over the mantle and Ghanaians would love to see him exhibiting the same sense of patriotism, humility and dedication which were exhibited by his predecessors Stephen Appiah and John Mensah in order for the team to move forward. The ‘Baby Jet’ is currently Ghana's top striker, having scored 28 goals in 59 games since making his debut for the Black Stars against Somalia nine years ago.

THE STAR PLAYER | CHRISTIAN ATSU


Christian Atsu of Porto is the new kid on the block and he will be vital if Ghana is to go far at the 2013 Afcon in South Africa. It took Atsu just 10 minutes to prove to the whole world that he is Black Stars material as he scored on his debut when entering as a substitute during the 2014 Brazil World Cup qualifier between Ghana and Lesotho in Kumasi.

The 20-year-old has gone on to display fantastic performances for the senior national side with both games against Malawi in the 2013 Afcon qualifiers proving his ability to be a crucial element of the team at the Afcon. Nicknamed 'Ghana Messi', Atsu has the  skill, flair, pace, strength and a keen eye for goal.

THE EMERGING TALENT | BOAKYE-YIADOM


The 19-year-old is one of the few players in world football who have scored in all his debut and has been in fantastic form for his side Sassuolo where he is on loan from Juventus. He has netted 10 goals so far this season and his impeccable form is the reason why Sassuolo are unbeaten in the Serie B.

As a clinical finisher, the former Ghana national Under-17 and U20 striker will be the cynosure of all eyes considering how he has made name in Italy. The youngster who scored on his Black Stars debut against China last year is a typical number nine and at times can also play as a second striker where he normally feeds the leading marksman and scores also when the need arises.

PROBABLE LINEUP



(4-4-2)
Kwarasey
Painstil, Boye, Vorsah, Afful
Boateng, Annan, Atsu, Asamoah
Gyan,Yiadom

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