Africa Cup of Nations: Journalists and pundits make their predictions

With the Africa Cup of Nations kicking off this weekend we asked the experts for their predictions on how the tournament might pan out.

Former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan is one of the favourites for the tournament Golden Boot. Credit: PA

Oluwashina Okeleji (BBC Reporter, Nigeria)

Winner: Ghana

Favourites alongside Ivory Coast. I've got a sneaky feeling the Black Stars will clinch a fifth African title in South Africa. They look complete and ready this year.

Surprise package: Cape Verde

The Blue Sharks knocked out former World Cup quarter-finalists Cameroon to pull off one of the biggest shocks in the competition's history. The tiny Cape Verde Islands are brimming with so much confidence.

Top goalscorer: Asamoah Gyan

The experienced Ghana captain is in really good form at the moment and put in some great performances in the build-up. Ghana will emerge champions if he can transfer his rich vein of scoring form to the international stage in South Africa.

Player to watch: Victor Moses

The exciting Eagle who is already flying at Chelsea is keen to impress at his first major tournament for Nigeria. Also worth a mention is Christian Atsu, a Ghanaian of undoubted ability, an excellent prospect, whose movement with the ball at his feet is exceptional.

The Ivory Coast were left disappointed by defeat to Zambia in last year's final. Credit: PA

Ian Hawkey (Author of 'Feet of the Chameleon: The Story of African Football')

Winner: Ivory Coast

Twice in the last four tournaments they've lost the final only on penalties, they're a team who know each other well and sense strongly this is probably the last chance for the so-called golden generation.

Surprise package: Angola

They've slid a little since they made the 2006 World Cup, but they've hired a savvy head coach in Gustavo Ferrin and club football there, at least at the top level, is increasingly competitive.

Top goalscorer: Asamoah Gyan

He's been prolific, albeit in the UAE league for which he left Sunderland, and he's now the go-to, senior figure in this Ghana team and an excellent leader of the line.

Player to watch: Tresor Mputu

The Democratic Republic of Congo striker has been one of the outstanding footballers still based in Africa for the last five years or so. He's talented enough and motivated, at 27, for a move to a major European club.

South African Thuso Phala, who plies his trade with Platinum Stars, is tipped to shine. Credit: PA

Mazola Malefe (Sunday Times, South Africa)

Surprise package: Angola

Even if it is because of top scorer Manucho, the former Manchester United striker who sizzled at last year's Nations Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea scoring three goals and finishing joint top scorer.

Top goalscorer: Didier Drogba

This is probably his last Nations Cup tournament and he is a veteran in this competition. Despite Ivory Coast falling at the last hurdle against champions Zambia last year, Drogba was their leading marksman. The coach has kept much of the core team that reached the finals in 2012, meaning there's not much to fiddle with, except that they have a new coach.

Player to watch: Thuso Phala

The South Africa winger was a surprise inclusion in coach Gordon Igesund's squad that was named on December 30. But Phala has been a revelation in the national team's previous two warm-up matches against Norway (1-0 defeat) and Algeria

Winner: Ivory Coast

I think this is finally the turning point for this team. It) and could win more fans over with his dazzling runs and fighting spirit during the tournament.

Zambia were surprise winners last time out, but have not been tipped to repeat their performance. Credit: PA

Michael Cox (Zonal Marking)

Winner: Ivory Coast

It's the obvious choice but I think they're clear favourites. It's crazy that this generation of players hasn't won it, and although they've got some inconsistent players on the flanks, they have a strong spine and seemingly a tight dressing room too.

Surprise package: Cape Verde

I've heard decent things about Cape Verde, who overcame Cameroon in the play-off and have a team featuring lots of promising youngsters at decent European clubs. I think they'll be underrated by virtue of this being their first ACON appearance - their reputation isn't great, but they do have potential.

Top goalscorer: Didier Drogba

I haven't seen Drogba since his move to China, but I assume he's still a lethal striker - on his day, he's the best this competition has to offer, by a long way, and he's also playing in the best side.

Player to watch: Cedric Mongongu

I've always been impressed by Mongongu of Congo when I've seen him play for Evian - he's a good solid centre-back, and has admitted his intention to move to the Premier League in the past. A couple of good appearances here, and he could earn himself a move before the end of the transfer window.