African aces in finals frame

John Pantsil and Henri Camara's recent run in the West Ham United first team will do no harm to their chances of selection for the 2008 African Cup of Nations.

Energetic right-back Pantsil particularly had an impact for his club last weekend, playing his part in Scott Parker's winning goal in the 2-1 victory at Middlesbrough. The 26-year-old is in a provisional 40-man squad for hosts Ghana, who will gather in Dubai on 5 January for a training camp before their group games against Guinea, Morocco and Namibia. He previously played in the 2002 and 2006 editions.

Similarly, the experienced 30-year-old striker Camara, on loan this season from Wigan Athletic, has featured in each of West Ham United's last four league games. He has been chosen in Senegal's provisional 38-man squad, and is bidding for his third finals appearance after 2004 and 2006. Senegal have been drawn in a group with Tunisia, Angola and South Africa.

Both Pantsil and Camara have a fine pedigree at major finals, having also impressed at the 2006 and 2002 World Cups respectively. The tournament in Ghana starts on 20 January but competing countries can call up players two weeks before the kick-off, with the 23-man selections having to be confirmed by 10 January. The tournament will conclude with the final on 10 February in the Ghanaian capital Accra.