Fourteen of the 16 teams who reached next year's African Cup of Nations will start their final preparations this week in far-flung friendly internationals across three continents, stretching from the United States to Portugal and South Africa.
Defending champion Zambia is in Johannesburg to play next year's tournament host South Africa at FNB Stadium, formerly Soccer City, with both hoping they will be returning to the 2010 World Cup final venue for the last game of the African Cup next February.
Ivory Coast, the continent's top-ranked team and perennial favorite for the title, is away to Austria in Wednesday's matches, while Ghana plays first-time finalist Cape Verde in Lisbon.
Nigeria faces Venezuela in Miami without Chelsea pair Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel, but Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi is set for a long-awaited international debut.
Ghana also will be missing a key foreign-based player with captain Asamoah Gyan granted leave to be with family after his mother died fo...