The Black Stars of Ghana have been drawn in a tricky group in their bid to qualify for the 34th edition of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Côte d’Ivoire 2023.
After their poor performance in the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon, the Black Stars seek to make amends as the pursuit for their fifth AFCON title which has eluded them in more than 40 years continues.
Ghana remains favorites in Group E, having been paired against Madagascar, Angola and the Central African Republic for the upcoming AFCON qualifiers. Tipped on paper for a smooth sailing qualification, the memories of the 2021 AFCON still remain fresh on the minds of Ghanaian soccer fans, after that humiliating 3-2 defeat to lowly-ranked Comoros.
Despite booking a ticket to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar this year, the Black Stars of Ghana have won only 3 of their previous 10 matches in all competitions and have failed to win a game in the last five matches (3D,2L).
The team is expected to use the qualifying matches as preparatory games for the FIFA World Cup in November this year, having been paired in one of the balanced groups alongside, Portugal, Uruguay, and South Korea.
Exciting matches lined up towards next year’s tournament
The draw for the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Côte d’Ivoire 2023, was conducted in Johannesburg, South Africa on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 with exciting matches lined up towards next year’s tournament.
The draw was conducted by African football legends, former South Africa defender, Lucas Radebe and Ex-Côte d’Ivoire forward, Solomon Kalou.
Defending champions, Senegal, has been pooled in Group L where the Lions of Teranga will battle with Benin, Mozambique and Rwanda.
Host, Côte d’Ivoire, is in Group H with Zambia, Comoros and Lesotho. Only one team will qualify from this group, alongside the hosts. Comoros, one of the surprise packages at the delayed 2021 showpiece in Cameroon, is seeking for a second consecutive qualification.
Losing finalists at the 2021 showpiece, Egypt, has been drawn in Group D and Mohamed Salah will fancy another battle against club teammate, Naby Keita, as the Pharaohs have been drawn with Guinea, Malawi and Ethiopia.
There will be several derbies as well with East African rivals, Uganda and Tanzania, drawn together again, and they will face off in Group F together with 2019 champions, Algeria, as well as Niger.
Uganda and Tanzania faced off in the qualifiers for the 2019 showpiece where they drew 0-0 in the first leg in Kampala and Tanzania won 3-0 in Dar es Salaam. Tanzania also faced Algeria at the subsequent tournament in Egypt, where it suffered a 3-0 defeat.
Placed among the top-seed teams in Pot 1 of the draw, DR Congo who missed the 2021 edition in Cameroon, will face teams that played the TotalEnergies AFCON this year and will do everything not to miss the Côte d’Ivoire train.
DR Congo is in Group I and will face Gabon, Mauritania and Sudan, 3 teams which are also seeking to make consecutive appearances in the tournament next year.