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AFCON: Nigeria, 23 others poised for battle as CAF sets draw date


THE Confederation of African Football has confirmed October 12 as the draw date for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The AFCON tournament will be held in Cote d’Ivoire in January and February next year after it was postponed from June this year over weather concerns.

The qualifying series for the continental showpiece was completed on Tuesday night, with Cameroon joining 23 other countries after sealing their place with a 3-0 win over Burundi in Garoua.

The five-time African champions earned one of the two Group C tickets along with Namibia, who are returning after a long absence.

The tournament will kick off in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on January 13, 2024, with the official draw also set for the same city.

Incidentally, the Indomitable Lions were the winners the last time Cote d’Ivoire hosted the event in 1984, when they beat Nigeria in the final.

Both African heavyweights, along with 22 others contenders, will light up Cote d’Ivoire in the quest for one of the world’s most prestigious international trophies.

A total of 12 former African champions will be heading to the tournament, also with the 16 top teams from the continent in the FIFA ranking involved.

Hosts Cote d’Ivoire are part of a strong West African contingent along with holders Senegal, four-time champions Ghana and 2013 winners Nigeria.

Other from West Africa are 2013 finalists Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and rising Gambia who sealed their qualification in dramatic style.

North Africa also presents a formidable line-up led by 2021 runners-up Egypt, the most successful nation in AFCON history, 2019 champions Algeria, Qatar 2022 history-making quarter-finalists Morocco and 2004 champions Tunisia, who have been to every AFCON since 1994.

South Africa, champions on home soil in 1996, Zambia and Namibia represent southern Africa, while Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo lead the charge from East Africa.

Qualified nations:
Cote d’Ivoire (hosts)
Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Congo DR
Equatorial Guinea
The Gambia
South Africa

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