Nigeria’s Super Eagles have been drawn against hosts Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea in Group A of the 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) slated for January next year in Cote d’Ivoire.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the draw was held at the Parc Des Expositions in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on on Thursday night.
Two-time African Footballer of the Year, and former Chelsea and Ivory Coast striker, Didier Drogba, and former Nigerian international, John Mikel Obi, also drew from the pots, which saw their two nations pitted together.
The hosts Ivory Coast – winners in 1992 and 2015 – will open the tournament on Jan. 13 against Guinea-Bissau.
In other draw highlights, defending champions Senegal were pitted against Cameroon while record winners Egypt will renew hostilities with Ghana.
Senegal, who triumphed earlier this year, were drawn in Group C against Cameroon, Guinea and AFCON debutants Gambia in what looks a competitive pool.
Ironically, Senegal meet Cameroon in a friendly in France on Monday as part of their build-up to defend the trophy on Ivorian soil.
Egypt, hunting a record-extending eighth continental crown, will face Ghana in Group B in a repeat of the 2010 final which the Pharaohs won late on. Cape Verde and Mozambique complete the group.
Algeria, Tunisia, Mali and South Africa add further star quality to Group E in another exciting pool.
Elsewhere, AFCON semi-finalists Morocco should navigate a comfortable Group F containing DR Congo, Zambia and Tanzania.
Matches will take place at six venues across the country, including newly constructed stadiums in Abidjan, Korhogo and San Pedro.
The 16-team group stage was plotted in Abidjan, with Cote d’Ivoire hosting the continent’s showpiece event from 13 January to 11 February 2023.
Group A: Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau
Group B: Egypt, Ghana, Cape Verde Islands, Mozambique
Group C: Senegal, Cameroon, Guinea, Gambia
Group D: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Angola
Group E: Tunisia, Mali, South Africa, Namibia
Group F: Morocco, DR Congo, Zambia, Tanzania.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria are three-time AFCON champions, conquering the continent in 1980, 1994 and 2013.
In April 1994, the Nigerian national football team was ranked 5th in the FIFA rankings, the highest FIFA ranking position ever achieved by an African football team.(NAN)
Source: News Agency of Nigeria