By Eyong Macdella
The indomitable Lions of Cameroon will have to negotiate their way pass Namibia, FIFA suspended Kenya and Burundi in the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers later this year.
All 54 CAF member nations were involved in the draws done on Tuesday, April 19,2022 at the studios of the SuperSport channel in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The draws ensured all 54 participants were divided into 12 groups of four nations in a group and the playoffs is set to begin in June 2022.
The two leaders from each group will qualify for the final tournament In Ivory Coast but just one nation will qualify from Cote D’ivoire’s pool since the host already has an automatic place gained.
This will be the 34th edition of the international men’s football and Africa’s biggest set piece to be hosted by Ivory Coast.
It will see a total of 24 teams play the final tournament postponed to 2024, including Ivory Coast, who have automatically qualified as host nation.
It should be noted that, Kenya and Zimbabwe were still included in the draws despite FIFA bans. They have been given next month’s deadline by The Confederation of African football to ensure their suspensions are lifted two weeks before the start of the qualifiers else they would not be able to participate and in their groups there would be only three teams involved, with the top two qualifying.
Both countries have been suspended by world football’s governing body because of government interference in the running of their football associations.
The said countries, Kenya and Zimbabwe were not drawn in the same group to avoid a situation where there ended up being a group with just two participants.
Based on the official FIFA ranking announced on March 31, 2022, the 48 teams that qualified for the second round of the qualifiers were divided into four pots. While the highest ranked countries in Africa including Cameroon, were placed in pot 1.
Uganda, 1978 AFCON finalist will face Algeria, Tanzania and Niger in Group F of the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Group A: Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome e Principe or Mauritius
Group B: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Togo, Eswatini
Group C: Cameroon, Kenya, Namibia, Burundi
Group D: Egypt, Guinea, Malawi, Ethiopia
Group E: Ghana, Madagascar, Angola, Central African Republic
Group F: Algeria, Uganda, Niger, Tanzania
Group G: Mali, Congo Brazzaville, Gambia, South Sudan
Group H: Ivory Coast (hosts), Zambia, Comoros, Lesotho
Group I: Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Mauritania, Sudan
Group J: Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Botswana
Group K: Morocco, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Liberia
Group L: Senegal (holders), Benin, Mozambique, Rwanda.
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