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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 Bafana Bafana of South Africa.

AFCON HISTORY

Best Performance
Winners - 1996
Champions
1996
Runners-Up
1998
Third Place
2000
Fourth Place
None

HOW THEY QUALIFIED

South Africa qualified for the tournament as the host nation, claiming the only automatic spot available amongst the 16 teams. Originally Libya was scheduled to host this competition, but due to political instability and security fears, the north Africans were unable to welcome Africa's best national teams, and their hosting of the event will take place in 2017, exchanging with South Africa following the country's offer to host.

THE COACH | GORDON IGESUND


Gordon Igesund took over the reins as coach of Bafana Bafana in June 2012, promising to change the face of South African football by improving the side's confidence and attitude towards the game. He has unrivalled local experience and has won Premier Soccer League (PSL) titles with four different clubs.

With excellent man-management skills and an ability to completely turnaround teams' fortunes, Igesund was the ideal choice for a Bafana Bafana side which was struggling on the pitch. He will be focusing all his attention on creating a positive atmosphere in the South African camp and preparing a compact group for the African Cup of Nations.        

THE CAPTAIN | BONGANI KHUMALO


Following Steven Pienaar's retirement, South Africa's central defender Bongani Khumalo was allocated the armband. Seen as a positive influence on the pitch and a tough competitor with a calm attitude towards the game, Khumalo was Igesund's first choice after Pienaar decided to hang up his Bafana Bafana boots. 

Khumalo currently plays for Greek outfit PAOK on a season long loan from his club Tottenham Hotspur. He has struggled to make an impact at White Hart Lane and has been on loan three seasons in a row making infrequent appearances for Preston North End and Reading. Khumalo will be hoping he gets more game time at PAOK, which will help him bring confidence and form coming into the Afcon. 

THE STAR PLAYER | KATLEGO MPHELA


Mphela has been one of Bafana Bafana's leading lights throughout his time with the national side, scoring vital goals and at times spectacular strikes. He forms part of an attacking pairing with Bernard Parker, which should challenge top African sides with their pace and finishing ability. Mphela has scored 23 goals for the national side in 47 appearances, displaying his consistency and importance to the Bafana set-up. 

However, Mphela is recovering from injury and Gordon Igesund will hope to have his attacking force at full power come the kick-off of the African Cup of Nations on January 19.

THE EMERGING TALENT | DEAN FURMAN


The Oldham Athletic midfielder has performed admirably for the national side, with excellent outings during recent friendlies against Brazil, Poland, Mozambique and Kenya. He has managed the step-up from English League One football well, showing that he can hold his own against top international midfielders.  

With an ability to control the game in the middle of the park, Furman has been a great addition to the national team, with his ability to read the game highlighted with his presence near the action for most of the match. He has shown that he can adapt his game to specific situations. He is an emerging midfield force for Bafana Bafana and has earned praise from Gordon Igesund on numerous occasions.

PROBABLE LINEUP



(4-4-2)
Khune
Gaxa, Khumalo, Gould, Ngcongca
Tshabalala, Furman, Dikgacoi, Serero
Mphela, Parker

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