ABIDJAN: African champions Senegal have been drawn with Cameroon at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals while record winners Egypt will have old foe Ghana in their group at the tournament to be hosted in the Ivory Coast.
The host nation was grouped together with Nigeria while World Cup semi-finalists Morocco look to have a comfortable path to the knockout stages.
Senegal will play in Group C with Cameroon, Guinea and Gambia, who were surprise quarter-finalists when they made their Cup of Nations debut at the last edition.
Senegal, ironically, play against Cameroon in the French city of Lens on Monday in a friendly as part of their preparations for the tournament, which runs from Jan. 13-Feb. 11.
Home fans will bristle at the prospect of the Ivorians taking on Nigeria in Group A but will be confident they can ensure a top two finish at the expense of lightweights Equatorial Guinea and Guinea Bissau.
Egypt have won a record seven Cup of Nations titles and will be in Group B alongside Ghana, the Cape Verde Islands and Mozambique.
Egypt’s last success in 2010 came at the expense of Ghana’s Black Stars in the finals in Angola.
Morocco, who have only won the Cup of Nations once in 1976, were drawn in Group F against the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zambia. Next year’s tournament will be hosted at six venues, including newly built stadiums in Abidjan, Korhogo, San Pedro and Yamoussoukro.
It was supposed to have been played in June but put back by six months because of fears over the rainy season in the region. It is the third Cup of Nations finals with 24 teams after the 2019 finals in Egypt and the tournament hosted in Cameroon in early 2022.