AFCON 2021: Nigeria Grouped With Egypt, Sudan - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

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Tuesday, 17 August 2021

AFCON 2021: Nigeria Grouped With Egypt, Sudan

By Our Correspondent



The Super Eagles of Nigeria have been grouped in Group D with Egypt in the 2021 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, which is scheduled to hold in Cameroon between January 9 and February 6, 2022.

The other teams in the group include Sudan and Guinea-Bissau, who have been transformed from minnows to qualifying three times in a row.

Meanwhile, Algeria will face the Ivory Coast, the only team they failed to defeat in winning the last Africa Cup of Nations.

The teams drew 1-1 after extra time in the quarter-finals and the Desert Foxes advanced by winning a penalty shootout.

Matches decided by spot-kicks are officially classified as draws by FIFA, and it was the only time in a seven-match march to the title that Algeria needed a shootout to succeed.

Algeria and the Ivory Coast were placed in Group E with Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea when the draw was made in Yaounde on Tuesday.

It would be a shock if the Algerians and Ivorians did not fill the top two spots, leaving the other two countries to fight for possible qualification as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Although ranked third in the continent this month behind Senegal and Tunisia, Algeria are the form team as they boast an African record 27-match unbeaten run since November 2018.

Cameroon, seeking a sixth Cup of Nations title, were put in Group A with Burkina Faso, who they will face in the opening match in Yaounde, Ethiopia and Cape Verde.

It is hard to imagine the Indomitable Lions failing to make the last 16 and Burkina Faso will also be confident of progressing.

Sadio Mane-inspired Senegal, beaten by Algeria in both the group stage and the final two years ago, will be hotly fancied to top Group B, which includes Zimbabwe, Guinea and Malawi.

Tunisia, who have qualified for every Cup of Nations since 1994, are in Group F with Mali, Mauritania and the Gambia, who along with the Comoros are debutants.

Morocco, whose only Cup of Nations success came in 1976, and four-time champions Ghana look the strongest contenders in Group C, which the Comoros and Gabon complete.

Speaking ahead of the draw, Confederation of African Football president Patrice Motsepe said he hoped for an “exciting, competitive and successful” tournament as Cameroon play hosts for a second time.

Cameroon were originally due to stage the African football showcase in 2019 but fell behind with preparations and Egypt stepped in as late replacements.

The 2021 tournament dates have changed twice, first because of fears that torrential seasonal rains could affect the tight schedule, and then because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Draw

Group A: Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde

Group B: Senegal, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Malawi

Group C: Morocco, Ghana, Comoros, Gabon

Group D: Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau

Group E: Algeria, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast

Group F: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia

Note: Group winners and runners-up and the four best third-placed teams qualify for knockout stage