Spectacular Africa Cup of Nations draw throws up intriguing groups
Cairo, Egypt | AFP | Uganda Cranes have been drawn in one of the toughest Africa Cup of Nations 2019 groups, where they will come up against Egypt, DRC and Zimbabwe.
This is the second straight Nations Cup final that Uganda has been placed in the same group as Mohamed Salah’s Egypt.
Uganda coach Sebastien Desabre admitted it was a tough group. “Our chances in advancing will be tough because of the similar level of the teams in our group. It will be a difficult match-up facing the Pharaohs on their home turf amid their passionate fans,” he said.
Under the gaze of the Sphinx, a spectacular Africa Cup of Nations draw in Giza on Friday night produced an intriguing set of groups that leave many riddles to be answered.
After an open-air event against the illuminated backdrop of the pyramids, hosts Egypt, winners of the competition a record seven times, will face double champions Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda and Zimbabwe fill the last two places in Group A.
Egypt will kick off the event against Zimbabwe on June 21. The tournament ends on July 19.
Group F in the 24-team tournament brought together the second and third most successful sides in its history. Cameroon, who won their fifth continental crown last time and were originally set to host the competition, will face four-time winners Ghana. Benin and Guinea-Bissau complete the group.
Group D contains three former champions, with top seed Morocco matched against Ivory Coast and South Africa, as well as Namibia.
Senegal, the only one of the six top seeds never to have won the event, will face a former champion Algeria as well as the East African pair of Kenya and Tanzania in Group C.
Nigeria take on Guinea, Madagascar and Burundi in Group B. Tunisia face Mali, Mauritania and Angola in Group E.
The host put on a colourful show, though it strangely included an acrobatic troupe imported from Austria who performed dressed as African zebras.
Five Africa Cup of Nations facts
— Egypt will be hosts for a record fifth time. They previously staged the Cup of Nations in 1959, 1974, 1986 and 2006, winning three of those four tournaments and finishing third in the other.
— Only three countries, hosts Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia, took part in the first tournament in February 1957 and there was no qualifying competition.
— The most successful country has been Egypt with seven titles followed by Cameroon (five), Ghana (four), Nigeria (three) and the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Ivory Coast (two each).
— Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o is the leading overall Cup of Nations scorer, notching 18 goals in six tournaments between 2000 and 2010.
— Egypt goalkeeper Essam el Hadary became the oldest player at 44 years and 21 days to feature in the tournament when he faced Cameroon in the 2017 final in Librevill