Hosts Ivory Coast to face Nigeria in AFCON groupThu, 12 Oct 2023 21:01:05 GMT

Hosts Ivory Coast were joined in Group A by Nigeria in the draw for the Africa Cup of Nations in Abidjan on Thursday.Fast-improving Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, who have qualified for a fourth straight edition, complete the mini-league.Other heavyweight pairings included defending champions Senegal with five-time winners Cameroon, while Africa’s first World Cup semi-finalists Morocco face Democratic Republic of Congo.Ivory Coast, seeking a third Cup of Nations title, will face Guinea-Bissau in the opening match on January 13 in Abidjan, the economic hub.The Ivorian clash with three-time champions Nigeria will attract most attention among the six Group A fixtures. Nigeria were last crowned Cup of Nations winners in 2013 in South Africa and the Ivory Coast succeeded them two years later in Equatorial Guinea.Morocco were drawn in Group F with DR Congo, Zambia and Tanzania.The Atlas Lions have won the premier African football competition only once, in 1976 in Ethiopia. Their best performance since then was finishing runners-up to 2004 hosts Tunisia.Defending champions Senegal are in Group C with five-time winners Cameroon, Guinea and the Gambia.South Africa will face Tunisia, Mali and Namibia in Group E while Ghana take on Egypt, Cape Verde and Mozambique in Group B.Group D, comprising Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Angola, completes the line-up for a tournament that will reach a climax with the final on February 11.DrawGroup AIvory Coast (hosts), Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-BissauGroup BEgypt, Ghana, Cape Verde, MozambiqueGroup CSenegal (holders), Cameroon, Guinea, GambiaGroup DAlgeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, AngolaGroup ETunisia, Mali, South Africa, NamibiaGroup FMorocco, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, TanzaniaNotes– Group winners and runners-up and the four highest ranked third-placed teams qualify for knockout stage– Tournament kicks off on January 13 and ends on February 11, with matches at six stadiums in five cities