The Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Wednesday conducted the qualifying draws for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria drawn in group G alongside record seven-time winners, Egypt. Also to battle for the sole group ticket are Tanzania and Chad.
The qualifiers will start in June, with Nigeria hosting Chad on the weekend of June 13-14 before being the guest of Tanzania on September 5-6, 2015. Eagles will host Pharaohs March 23, 2016 before travelling to Cairo for the return fixture on March 29, 2016. Super Eagles will be guest of Chad on June 4/5 before hosting Tanzania in the last group match on September 3/4, 2016.
However, the draw was done following Gabon’s announcement as the host nation for the tournament, just as the qualification campaign will see the country participate in the qualifying stages of tournament for the first time.
Gabon matches will be considered friendly internationals and will not count for any points in their group.
A total of 52 teams were divided into 13 groups of four teams each. A four-tiered seeding system was used as a deciding factor, to keep the top ranked sides in Africa from ending up in the same group.
Meanwhile, CAF on Wednesday awarded Gabon the hosting rights of the 31st edition of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Gabon defeated Ghana and Algeria to the hosting rights of the tournament.
CAF President, Issa Hayatou, announced the winner, after a vote by the CAF Executive Committee at the 37th Ordinary General Assembly of CAF.
Gabon had co-hosted the 2012 edition of the tournament alongside Equatorial Guinea, while South Africa hosted the 2013 edition. Equatorial Guinea hosted the competition’s last edition in 2015 after Morocco pulled out of hosting the 30th edition because of the outbreak of Ebola in some part of Africa.