The African Cup of Nations kicks off on 19 January 2013, with South Africa taking on Cape Verde in the tournament opener. While African fans gear up for the competition, European club managers view it with disdain as they contemplate losing players at a crucial part of the season.
In recent years, the likes of Didier Drogba and Kolo Toure have left to take part in the tournament, much to the detriment of their clubs, but how will this year's competition impact Premier League sides?
Gervinho – Ivory Coast
Despite previously boasting a plethora of African talent, Arsenal will only lose Gervinho to the competition this month, as he joins up with the Ivory Coast squad. The Gunners are well equipped to deal with his absence, with Theo Walcott enjoying a frequent run in the first XI and the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain more than capable of filling in in wider positions.
With Villa staring at a relegation battle, Paul Lambert will be resigned to losing midfield lynchpin Karim El Ahmadi, who has been included in Morocco's preliminary squad for the tournament.
Last season Chelsea had to deal with the loss of star man Didier Drogba to the Cup of Nations and this season they look like losing John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses to the tournament. While Nigeria are yet to announce their final squad, both have been included in a 32-man preliminary squad alongside Newcastle's Shola Ameobi. Chelsea will breathe a sigh of relief that Senegal didn't qualify, meaning that new signing Demba Ba will be free for club selection.
Victor Anichebe's failure to be included in Nigeria's preliminary squad and Steven Pienaar's international retirement means that Everton's threadbare squad will not be affected by the tournament. However, Anichebe could be on stand-by if injuries strike any of the strikers already called up to Stephen Keshi's squad.
Mali are yet to submit their final squad list for the tournament, but if recent international selections are anything to go by, then Fulham's Mahamadou Diarra could well be included in the final 23-man squad.
Oussama Assaidi – Morocco
Brendan Rodgers will have to cope without summer signing Oussama Assaidi, who has been included in Morocco's preliminary squad. The wide-man has featured just three times in the Premier League for the Reds so far this season, so shouldn't be missed too much.
Kolo Toure – Ivory Coast
Yaya Toure – Ivory Coast
Abdul Razak – Ivory Coast
Perhaps the most interesting Premier League absentees will be those endured by Man City. In what could prove pivotal in the destination of the title, the reigning champions will be without Kolo Toure, Abdul Razak and Yaya Toure, who have all been included in Ivory Coast's final squad. Despite recruiting Javi Garcia in the summer, City will notice the loss of Yaya Toure's influence in midfield and the real impact of his absence could be felt come the end of the season.
While Man City deal with the absence of two big players, Man United's squad will be completely unaffected by the tournament.
Cheik Tiote – Ivory Coast
Cheik Tiote's inclusion in the Ivory Coast squad will be a huge blow to Newcastle, who rely heavily on his ability to snuff out attacks and provide protection for the back four. The Magpies seem to have avoided being hit further, following reports that Shola Ameobi will not travel to the tournament with Nigeria. The striker, who made his international debut just three months ago, had been included in Stephen Keshi's preliminary squad, but is believed to now be staying put. Perhaps the biggest news for Newcastle though is Senegal's failure to qualify for the tournament. Their lack of involvement means Papiss Cisse will remain on Tyneside at a crucial time following Demba Ba's transfer to Chelsea.
Cameroon's failure to qualify means that Norwich will be unaffected by the tournament, with Sebastien Bassong remaining in England.
Samba Diakite - Mali
The biggest news for QPR was Adel Taraabt's decision not to feature for Morocco at this year's tournament. However, the R's battle for survival could be affected by the departure of Samba Diakite. Mali are yet to announce their final squad, but recent international call-ups suggest that Diakite could be included this year. Cameroon's failure to qualify means Stephane Mbia will remain in west London.
Reading will be unaffected by the tournament following Jimmy Kebe's failure to be included in Mali's provisional squad.
Emmanuel Mayuka – Zambia
Southampton will be without young striker Emmanuel Mayuka who has been named in the Zambian squad. Mayuka played an influential part in the victorious 2012 Zambian side and, while he has featured just seven times in the Premier League for the Saints this season, he could prove to be a big loss for Nigel Adkins' side.
Stoke will be unaffected by the 2013 African Cup of Nations.
Benin's failure to qualify for the tournament means Stephane Sessegnon will remain available to Martin O'Neill.
Swansea will be unaffected by the 2013 African Cup of Nations.
Emmanuel Adebayor has decided not to take up the option to play for Togo this month. Togo are yet to announce their final squad, but officials have made it known they would like Adebayor to feature. Cameroon's failure to qualify also means Benoit Assou-Ekotto is available for selection.
Youssouf Mulumbu – Congo DR
Youssouf Mulumbu's selection for the Congo squad will be a huge loss for West Brom. The midfielder has been in fine form for the Baggies this season, but Steve Clarke should be able to fill the void with his versatile squad. Peter Odemwingie has not been included in Nigeria's 32-man preliminary squad.
Modibo Maiga – Mali
Mali are yet to confirm their final squad, but it is widely expected that Modibo Maiga will receive a call-up. There has not been a call-up for Guy Demel though, who has failed to be included in Ivory Coast's final 23. Senegal's failure to qualify means that Mohamed Diame remains available to Sam Allardyce, while Marouane Chamakh's omission from Morocco's squad means he will be available, following his loan switch from Arsenal.
Arouna Kone – Ivory Coast
Roberto Martinez will have to configure his attacking line without Arouna Kone, who has been selected by the Ivory Coast. The striker has been ever-present in the Wigan starting XI, and his goal-scoring will be hugely missed as the Latics battle against the drop.
Who will prove to be the biggest loss to the Cup of Nations this month? Could Yaya Toure's departure affect the destination of the Premier League title? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below...