The stage is set for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations showdown, the 30th edition in the competition’s history, after the draw was conducted in Malabo, the capital of host country Equatorial Guinea.
The prolonged ceremony in Malabo served up some potentially blockbuster fixtures especially in Group C which has three former winners and a finalist. South Africa who topped Group A and locked defending champions Nigeria will headline the group as they hunt for their first title since the 1996 triumph. Four-time winners Ghana were seeded first in the group and they will be joined by 1990 winners Algeria as well as the star-studded Teranga Lions of Senegal who are still searching for their maiden title.
Group D looks equally tricky with Cote d’Ivoire set to battle it out with a rejuvenated Cameroon side as well as Mali who have reached the semis on the last two occasions. Guinea, beaten by Morroco in the 1976 final are the group’s dark horses.
Hosts Equatorial Guinea headline Group A and will play the opening match against Congo in Bata. Last year’s beaten finalists Burkina Faso are also in the group alongside Gabon.
Zambia who won the 2012 edition are drawn in Group B alongside 2004 winners Tunisia, two-time champions DR Congo and Cape Verde. Honoum Janza’s Zambia already clashed with the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde during the qualifiers with the Chipolopolo losing the first leg 2-1 before exacting revenge on Rui Aguas’ men with a 1-0 home win, Ronald Kampamba with the solitary goal.
The 2015 edition will start on 17th January with the finals set for 8th February. All the Group A matches will be held Bata, Group B in Ebebiyin while Group C and D matches will take place in Mongomo and Malabo respectively. Nigeria are the defending champions but they failed to qualify after finishing third in Group A, four points adrift of South Africa who topped the group.
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