Three in Africa Cup of Nations

Babanco, David Silva and Djaniny are in the Cape Verde squad that meets hosts South Africa in the opening game tomorrow.

This prestigious tournament will be watched worldwide as many top international players are involved. The outcome of this season’s English Premier League title race will be shaped by a tournament taking place 13,000 kilometres away in South Africa.

Defending champions Manchester City already have a seven-point gap on leaders Manchester United to chase down and their cause will not be helped by the absences of brothers Kolo and Yaya Toure, who play for the Ivory Coast.

Wigan Athletic stand to lose top scorer Arouna Kone and Newcastle United will be without key midfielder Cheick Tiote, while Arsenal lose Gervinho. However, Senegal’s failure to qualify means that Demba Ba will be free to focus on adapting to life at Chelsea, while his former Newcastle team-mate Papiss Cisse will be staying put at St James’ Park.

Morocco coach Rachid Taoussi, meanwhile, has smiled on Queens Park Rangers and West Ham by overlooking mercurial QPR midfielder Adel Taarabt and the Hammers’ on-loan Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh. Chelsea will lose Nigerian pair John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses.

South Africa v Cape Verde: (ITV4: tomorrow, Saturday 4pm); Cape Verde v Morocco (ITV4: January 23, 6pm); Cape Verde v Angola (Eurosport TV: January 27, 5pm).