Old foes, Egypt, may be pitted against Nigeria in the group stage of the 2022 African Cup of Nations, which draw holds today in Yaoundé, Cameroun.
The Super Eagles are in Pot One, while seven-time champions, Pharaohs, are one of the teams in Pot Two, and with the possibility of being drawn against Nigeria.
Other countries likely to be drawn in the same group with Nigeria are Cape Verde (Pot 3) and first timers, Comoros (Pot 4).
According to the procedure, no two teams in any pot could be drawn together, but they could be drawn against any in other pots.
Being grouped in Pot 1 together means the Eagles, who picked up the bronze medals at the last edition in Egypt two years ago, will avoid Cameroun’s Indomitable Lions (five-time champions), Senegal’s Lions of the Teranga (Africa’s number one –ranked team), Tunisia (2004 champions and Africa’s number two-ranked team), Cup holders, Algeria, (now ranked number three in Africa) and 1976 winners Morocco (now ranked fourth in Africa, a step above the Super Eagles).
The draw ceremony formally kick-starts preparations for all teams concerned. However, the disruption caused by the global coronavirus pandemic means the AFCON 2021 is now to hold from January 9 to February 6, 2022, with the qualifying series of the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals yet to be concluded before the AFCON. The knockout rounds for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 holds in March 2022.
Most of the teams involved in Cameroun 2021 will be using the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers as preparatory sessions, with six tough games to negotiate between September and November, and only the last week of December and the first week of January open for any camping programme.
Ghana, who have four titles from the AFCON but have not won the trophy in 39 years, are in Pot 2 alongside Egypt, 2015 champions Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea.