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FILE: The Africa Cup of Nations trophy. /CFP

Hosts Côte d’Ivoire to face Nigeria in AFCON group

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Hosts Côte d’Ivoire 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 the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Côte d’Ivoire, seeking a third Cup of Nations title, will meet Guinea-Bissau in the opening match on January 13 in Abidjan.

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 Côte d’Ivoire 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. 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.

Senegal are the current holders of the Africa Cup of Nations having defeated Egypt in the final in Cameroon in 2022. /CFP




















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.

Senegalese-American singer Akon hosted the draw, assisted by current and former African stars Sadio Mane, Achraf Hakimi, Didier Drogba and Mikel John Obi.

Côte d’Ivoire are hosting the premier African sport event for a second time, and hoping for much better results than in 1984.

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