Togo's Emmanuel Adebayor preparing for memorable African Nations Cup

Emmanuel Adebayor wants to leave a lasting mark on the African Nations Cup when he leads Togo into the competition next month.

Adebayor, 32, has been without a club since last summer but carries the hopes of a nation with him as he and his international teammates prepare for the ANC, which kicks off in Gabon on Jan. 14.

Togo begin their group-stage campaign against holders Ivory Coast two days later, and face a massive task to reach the knockout stages with DR Congo and Morocco also in Group C.

Togo have never gone beyond the quarterfinals of the competition, a feat they achieved when they last qualified for the final tournament in 2013 when it was staged in South Africa.

Adebayor, however, believes he has it in him to leave a lasting impression this time round.

"Given what I have done this last 10 years, in Africa and on the world stage, I would like to mark an ANC so that people speak about me saying that there was the ANC 2017 in Gabon and that I was good. So, I'm preparing myself to put in good performances, both individually and collectively," the former Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur striker, who left Crystal Palace in the summer, told media in the Togolese capital Lome.

"I'm going in the right direction to be able to lead the squad to the ANC and to hope to get something from it. It's true that when you look at the countries that have qualified, we're among the smallest. We mustn't kid ourselves. When I see the teams from Algeria, Senegal, Ghana and Ivory Coast, it's true that on paper, we're not the best. But there will be perhaps 11, 18 or 23 mad dogs at the ANC and it will be the Togolese."

He added: "It's all the more because there are three or four players, whose names I don't want to mention, including me, our career is more or less behind us rather than in front of us. It's an ANC where we want to make a mark."