The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on June 21 in Egypt. AFCON holders Cameroon will play Ghana, Benin and Guinea-Bissau in the group stage of the 2019 tournament.
Group D is arguably the pick of the draw, however, with Morocco, Ivory Coast, South Africa and Namibia all in this section.
Cameroon, in Group F, were initially slated to hold the 2019 event after dramatically beating Egypt 2-1 in the 2017 final thanks to Vincent Aboubakar’s late strike.
But they were stripped of hosting duties by the Confederation of African Football due to organisation problems, with Egypt taking over.
Egypt are in Group A with DR Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe while Senegal have been paired with Algeria, Kenya and Tanzania in Group C during Friday’s draw in front of the pyramids.
Liverpool star Mohamed Salah and his side will open the tournament against Zimbabwe in the capital city of Cairo, where the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final will also be played.
For the first time the tournament has been expanded to 24 teams, with Burundi, Madagascar and Mauritania all making maiden appearances following the change in format.
Burundi and Madagascar will play each other as they were drawn in Group B, along with Nigeria and Guinea. Mauritania are in Group E with Tunisia, Mali and Angola.
“Group B will be tough,” said Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr. “Guinea, Madagascar and Burundi are decent sides so we have to prepare well. We plan to play build up games versus Ghana and maybe Senegal.”
The top two teams from each of the six groups will go into the quarter-finals along with the four best third-placed teams. AFCON gets under way on June 21 and the final is set to be played on July 19.
5 Africa Cup of Nations facts after 2019 tournament draw:
— 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 Libreville.