Hosts Gabon were handed a favourable draw for January’s Africa Cup of Nations, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s side to face Cameroon, Burkina Faso and the debutants Guinea-Bissau in Group A while the heavyweights Algeria and Senegal will face off in Group B.
The buildup to the tournament, which begins on 14 January, has been dominated by doubts over where it will be staged as the aftershocks of Gabonese presidential elections continue to be felt.
President Ali Bongo – who defeated the challenger Jean Ping to retain the post he has held since 2009 – was at the draw in Libreville on Wednesday night and he saw Les Panthères given a great chance of progressing past the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.
Elsewhere, the holders and favourites Ivory Coast were drawn in Group C and will face Togo, Morocco and DR Congo, while Algeria and Senegal – ranked second and third in Africa by Fifa – will contest Group B with Zimbabwe and Tunisia.
Ghana’s hopes of winning a first title since 1982 will rest of coming through a group that contains the seven-time winners Egypt, Mali and Uganda, who are also in the Black Stars’ World Cup qualifying group and played them in their last finals appearance in 1978, when Ghana triumphed 2-0 in the final.
2017 Africa Cup of Nations draw
Group A Gabon, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Burkina Faso
Group B Algeria, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Tunisia
Group C Ivory Coast, Togo, Morocco, DR Congo
Group D Ghana, Uganda, Egypt, Mali
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