The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations is fast approaching as some of the world’s best players prepare to face off in Cameroon.
Players from across the Premier League and the rest of the world will be leaving their clubs at a crucial point in the season to help their country earn the right to be named the best footballing country in Africa.
Mo Salah, Edouard Mendy and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should participate in the Africa Cup of Nations
Riyad Mahrez led Algeria to victory over Senegal in Cairo in the final of the last tournament in 2019.
And now, with the competition running for around a month, there is once again a football feast that fans are looking forward to.
Here’s everything you need to know before the competition.
CAN 2021: Appointment
The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations will kick off on Sunday January 9 with host Cameroon against Burkina Faso.
The round of 16 of the competition begins on Sunday 23 January with the final of the competition set for Sunday 6 February.
Group stage: Sunday January 9 to Thursday January 20
Round of 16: Sunday January 23 to Wednesday January 26
Quarter-final: from Saturday January 29 to Sunday January 30
Semi-finals: from Wednesday February 2 to Thursday February 3
Match for third place: Sunday February 6
Final: Sunday February 6
Mo Salah expected to be missing for a month due to international obligations with Egypt CAN 2021: Competition format
The 24 competing nations have been divided into six groups of four teams, with each team playing three group matches.
The six group winners, the six group runners-up and the top four group thirds will then advance to the round of 16.
From there, each tie will be a single encounter with a clash decided by overtime and penalties to decide who will advance to the next round.
CAN 2021: Confirmed groups
Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde
Senegal, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Malawi
Morocco, Ghana, Comoros, Gabon
Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau
Algeria, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast
Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia
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Chelsea will be without star goalkeeper Edouard Mendy as he competes for Senegal CAN 2021: Potential Premier League participants
Thomas Partey (Ghana)
Mohamed Elneny (Egypt)
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)
Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast)
Mahmoud Trezeguet (Egypt)
Bertrand Traoré (Burkina Faso)
Merveilleux Nakamba (Zimbabwe)
Julian Jeanvier (Guinea)
Frank Onyeka (Nigeria)
Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Ghana)
Yves Bissouma (Mali)
Maxwel Cornet (Ivory Coast)
Edouard Mendy (Senegal)
Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)
Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal)
Jeffrey Schlupp (Ghana)
Jordan Ayew (Ghana)
Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast)
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Zaha’s Ivory Coast falls to Algeria in CAN quarter-finals
Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Ivory Coast)
Alex Iwobi (Nigeria)
Daniel Amartey (Ghana)
Nampalys Mendy (Senegal)
Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria)
Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)
Mo Salah (Egypte)
Naby Keita (Guinea)
Sadio Mané (Senegal)
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)
Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast)
Amad Diallo (Ivory Coast)
Moussa Djenepo (Mali)
Mohammed Salisu (Ghana)
Peter Etebo (Nigeria)
William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria)
Adam Masina (Morocco)
Ismaila Sarr (Senegal)
Emmanuel Dennis (Nigeria)
Saïd Benrahma (Algeria)
Romain Saiss (Morocco)
Willy Boly (Ivory Coast)