Algeria, defending champion of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), will face Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, and Ivory Coast, in the clash of Group E of the 2021 edition (January 9-February 6), according to the draw made in Yaoundé on Tuesday.
Cameroon, the host country of the competition and the second most titled nation in Africa with five trophies, will face in the opening match Burkina Faso on January 9 in Yaoundé, then Ethiopia and Cape Verde.
Egypt, seven-time winners of the CAN, will face Nigeria in Group D in another highly anticipated first-round match. Sudan and Guinea Bissau will accompany both teams.
The Algerian Fennecs, led by Riyad Mahrez and undefeated in 27 games, are favorites for a third title. The first, second, and best four thirds in each group will advance to the round of 16.
Senegal, another contender for the final victory, with its star Sadio Mané, inherited group B with Malawi, Guinea, and Zimbabwe.
Ghana and Morocco will start as favorites in Group C against the Panthers of Gabon and Comoros.
Finally, in group F, Tunisia and Mali, two outsiders of this CAN, will face Gambia and Mauritania.
The competition in Cameroon, initially scheduled for 2021, was postponed to January-February 2022 because of the pandemic.
Below is the full composition of the groups.
Group A: Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde
Group B: Senegal, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Malawi
Group C: Morocco, Ghana, Comoros, Gabon
Group D: Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau
Group E: Algeria, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast
Group F: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia
The top two finishers in each group as well as the four best third-place finishers qualify for the round of 16.
The match for the third place will take place on Sunday, February 6 in Yaoundé while the final will hold on Sunday, February 6 in Yaoundé.