The draw for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, slated for January 9 to February 6 has been made.
Reigning African champions Algeria will slug it out against former champions Ivory Coast. They will also be hoping to navigate their way past Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea in Group E to boost their hopes of clinching the title for the third time in their history, having also won the diadem in 1990.
How Algeria and Nigeria Fare in AFCON Draw
Algeria to Rely on Mahrez in African Cup of Nations
In actualizing their desires, Algeria will be relying on their captain and Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez, who played a decisive role in the run to the 2019 Afcon victory, scoring the match-winning goal against Nigeria in the semi-finals of the edition, among other eye-catching displays.
Three-time African champions Nigeria have been paired along with Egypt, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau in Group D.
The Pharaohs will be banking on Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah as they aim to end their title drought in the competition, having last won the trophy in 2010, while the Super Eagles have several key players, including Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho, Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Watford centre-back William Troost-Ekong.
Sudan and Guinea-Bissau will be expected to give Egypt and Nigeria a tough challenge as they will be hoping to move past the group stage of the tournament.
Nigeria Head Coach Gernot Rohr Reveals Plans For AFCON
Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has mapped out his plans to qualify for the knock stages of the tournament by playing more friendlies and arriving in Cameroon early for the showpiece.
In an interview with the media, as per Premium Times, Rohr said: “The first game is very important; Nigeria-Egypt, it’s a very good game and we would see, we have to finish top two in the group to go into last 16, it’s not an easy group but we are very confident.
“We will have at least one or two friendlies before the competition, we will start our campaign on the 11th [January]. It’s the third day of the tournament so we have a bit more time but we have to be in Cameroon on the 6th – five days before the competition.
“We will be here not for friendly but to prepare and adapt to the different climate in case it gets very hot and humid in Garoua. So I think we will be okay, we will see the stadium tomorrow [Wednesday] I am sure we would have a good atmosphere, the city loves football.”
Nigeria finished with a bronze medal in the last edition of the tournament after defeating Tunisia.
African Cup of Nations Draw:
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
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