Nigeria’s Super Eagles will on Friday know their group phase opponents at the 5th African Nations Championship kicking off on 13th January 2018 in Morocco.
The Confederation of African Football has announced that the Draw Ceremony will take place at the stately Hotel Sofitel Rabat, which also hosted CAF’s Extraordinary General Assembly following the first –ever African Football Symposium in Rabat in July this year.
The 16 teams that qualified for the finals have been drawn into four pots, from which they will be drawn into four groups of four for the 23 –day, 16 –nation championship.
Nigeria, winners of the bronze medals at the 3rd CHAN in South Africa in 2014, have been slotted into Pot 2, alongside Cameroon, Guinea and Zambia.
Pot 1 has host nation Morocco, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire and Libya with Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Sudan in Pot 3 and Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania and Namibia in Pot D.
Group A will have its base in Casablanca (Morocco’s industrial and economic capital); Marrakech will host Group B; Group C will be based in Tangier and; Agadir will play host to Group D.
Nigeria failed to qualify for the first two editions of the CHAN, hosted by Cote d’Ivoire (2009) and Sudan (2011), but finished in third place in South Africa in 2014 after losing 1-2 to Mali in her first match and then defeating Mozambique 4-2 and host South Africa 3-1. In the quarter –finals, the Eagles came from 0-3 down at half time to defeat Morocco 4-3 after extra time, but they crumbled on penalty shoot –out to Ghana’s Black Stars in the semi finals, before pipping Zimbabwe to third place.
In Rwanda last year, Nigeria trounced Niger Republic 4-1, only to draw 1-1 with Tunisia and lose 0-1 to Guinea to crash out at group stage.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
To reach Morocco 2018, the Super Eagles eliminated Benin Republic 2-1 on aggregate; Cameroon powered past Sao Tome and Principe 2-0; Guinea got the better of Senegal 6-4 on aggregate and; Zambia defeated South Africa 4-2.
Morocco, earlier eliminated 2-4 by Egypt, was re-instated as hosts; Angola pipped Madagascar 1-0; Cote d’Ivoire edged Niger Republic on the away goal rule after a 2-2 tie and; Libya edged Algeria 3-2.
Congo-Brazzaville eliminated Democratic Republic of Congo on the away goal rule after 1-1 aggregate; Uganda edged Rwanda 3-2; Rwanda was restored after defeating Ethiopia 3-2 in a play-off occasioned by Egypt’s decision to forfeit her slot and; Sudan had earlier taken out Ethiopia 2-1 on aggregate.
Burkina Faso shocked Ghana 2-1 away after a 2-2 draw in Ouagadougou for a 4-3 aggregate win; Equatorial Guinea qualified after Gabon withdrew; Mauritania decisioned Mali 3-2 on aggregate and; Namibia kicked out Comoros also 3-2 on aggregate.
Pot 1: Morocco, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Libya
Pot 2: Cameroon, Guinea, Nigeria, Zambia
Pot 3: Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan
Pot 4: Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Namibia