Egypt return to the African Nations Cup finals for the first time since 2010 on Tuesday but face a tricky start in their bid for a record-extending eighth crown when they meet Mali.
Egypt won three back-to-back titles from 2006 to 2010 but then failed to reach the next three tournaments and are seeking to regain their former dominant position in the African game.
Having produced several continental greats over the decades, Egypt now pin their hopes on AS Roma striker Mohamed Salah.
If he continues the way he’s going, he can become one of the best players in the world,” Egypt coach Hector Cuper said.
But Mali are likely to be difficult Group D opponents, having finished third in two of the last three tournaments.
Play at the newly-built Port Gentil stadium will start with Ghana against Uganda, who last played at the finals in 1978.
They are in the same World Cup qualifying group and Uganda got a surprise draw in Ghana when they last met in October.
On Monday, holders Ivory Coast began their title defence with a 0-0 draw against Togo in Group C, followed by a 1-0 win for the Democratic Republic of Congo over Morocco in Oyem.