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AFCON 2015 draw: Algeria drawn into ‘Group of Death’
There are just over six weeks to go before the continent’s footballing show piece kicks-off, as Equatorial Guinea is set to welcome Africa’s elite teams for the second time in three years.
Prior to the draw, the 16 teams had been divided into four pots according to their performances in the last three AFCON editions, the last three AFCON qualifiers, and the World Cup 2014 qualifiers. Hosts Equatorial Guinea were automatically placed in pot one.
The draw resulted in very closely matched groups and some exhilarating contests are already expected from early on. Group C is regarded as the group of death, with the clash between Ghana and Algeria being an early final. The Black Stars and Les Fennecs are joined by two rising teams in the form of South Africa and Senegal; who both had excellent qualifying campaigns.
Ivory Coast and Cameroon were in the same group in the qualifiers and find themselves head to head again in the tournament’s group stage. This will be a chance for the Elephants to avenge their humiliating 1-4 defeat during qualifiers.
Assisting CAF’s General Secretary Hicham El-Amrani in conducting the draw were a few former African football stars. Egypt and Al Ahly legend Mohamed Aboutrieka, who won back-to-back AFCONs with Egypt in 2006 and 2008, was one of them, and helped draw teams from pot two.
Last edition’s champions Nigeria failed to qualify to defend their title, which they won two years ago in South Africa.They finished in third place in their qualifiers group behind South Africa and Congo. The continent’s most successful side, Egypt, also misses the tournament for the third consecutive time following yet another poor qualifying campaign.
The tournament will take place from 17th January to 8th February 2015 in four cities: Malabo, Bata, Mongomo and Ebibeyin. The opening match will see hosts Equatorial Guinea entertain Congo.