African Cup of Nations draw is made
The draw for the group stages of the African Cup of Nations (AFCoNs) has handed both joint favourites Ghana and Ivory Coast difficult groups.
The ACoN, Africa's showpiece football competition, will be held in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon from January 21 to February 12, 2012.
Several high profile nations are absent from the competition, including Nigeria, Cameroon, World Cup hosts South Africa and, notably, current holders Egypt.
Nigeria failed to win their qualifying group after failing to beat eventual group winners Guinea.
This follows a disappointing 2010 World Cup for The Super Eagles.
Cameroon were ousted by a rejuvenated Senegal side, who topped the group dropping their only points in a 0-0 draw against The Indomitable Lions.
South Africa just missed out on qualification to Niger, who progressed due to a better head-to-head record.
Bafana Bafana will not have featured in the last two tournaments.
Egypt, who have won the last three AFCoNs finished bottom of their qualifying group. The Pharoes only managed one victory over group victors Niger.
Didier Drogba’s Ivory Coast side have been drawn in Group B and will face Burkina Faso, Sudan and Angola whilst World Cup quarter finalists Ghana have been pitted against Guinea, Mali and Botswana in Group D.
In Group A, co-hosts Equatorial Guinea will open the tournament against Libya on January 29 in Bata and then have to contend with Senegal and Zambia.
Completing the group stage line up is fellow co-hosts Gabon, who take on Niger, Morocco and Tunisia in Group C.