Fifty years after last hosting the Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon kick off the continental showpiece targeting a sixth title while hoping the spectre of the coronavirus does not overshadow the tournament.
Cameroon, who play 2013 runners-up Burkina Faso in their opening Group A match at the vast new 60,000-seat Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, know expectations are high for the Indomitable Lions.
However, they will have to measure up to the likes of reigning champions Algeria, the Senegal of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah’s Egypt.
Cameroon was initially supposed to be the host nation in 2019, before being stripped of the tournament due to delays in its preparations, with Egypt taking over. The 33rd Cup of Nations was then postponed last year because of the pandemic.
The Central African country of 27 million people was therefore determined to press on with the competition amid reports last month that leading European clubs wanted it postponed again due to Covid concerns.