Ghana and Ivory Coast give taste of World Cup

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

LUANDA: World Cup qual­i­fiers Ghana and Ivory Coast will clash in the first round of the African Na­tions Cup af­ter the draw here yes­ter­day placed them in Group B with Burk­ina Faso and Togo.

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Egypt, seek­ing a record third con­sec­u­tive ti­tle in the bi­en­nial con­ti­nen­tal foot­ball show­piece, are in Group C with Nige­ria, Mozam­bique and Benin.

An­gola, the for­mer Por­tuguese colony which is stag­ing a com­pe­ti­tion first held 52 years ago in Su­dan, are in Group A with Mali, Malawi and Al­ge­ria and ap­pear ca­pa­ble of fin­ish­ing among the top two and reach­ing the quar­ter-fi­nals.

Cameroon, who have won the Na­tions Cup four times, are the team to beat in Group D, which is com­pleted by Gabon, Zam­bia and Tu­nisia.

Cap­i­tal city Luanda will host the open­ing match on Jan­uary 10 and the fi­nal on Jan­uary 31 and pro­vin­cial cen­tres Benguela, Cabinda and Lubango com­plete the venue line-up.

This Na­tions Cup is ex­pected to at­tract mas­sive in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion as it falls five months be­fore South Africa stages the first World Cup to be held in Africa.

African Na­tions Cup draw made here yes­ter­day:

An­gola, Mali, Malawi, Al­ge­ria

Ivory Coast, Burk­ina Faso, Ghana, Togo

Egypt, Nige­ria, Mozam­bique, Benin

Cameroon, Gabon, Zam­bia, Tu­nisia

Matches to be played be­tween Jan­uary 10 and 31 in Luanda, Benguela, Cabinda and Lubango. – Sapa-AFP

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