Harambee Stars will play Zambia, Congo and Guinea Bissau for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers. 13 top teams in each group plus two best runners up will join host nation Gabon for the finals.
Gabon won the rights to host the tournament after beating off strong competition from Algeria and Ghana. This means the next four AFCON tournaments will be held in West Africa with Cameroon set to host the 2019 tournament while Ivory Coast will host Africa in 2021. The 20123 tournament will be held in Guinea.
Both Zambia and Congo were in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations and Kenya is certain it will not be a walk in the park in the qualifiers as they seek to qualify to the tournament for the first time since 2004 where they were eliminated in the group stages after losing two matches. Kenya will open their qualifying campaign in June with a match against Zambia in Nairobi.
Neighbors Uganda will face Botswana, Burkina Faso and Comoros Island in Group D while Tanzania have been pooled against 2013 champions Nigeria, Egypt and Chad in group G. Defending champions Ivory Coast are in the same group with host Nation Gabon, Sierra Leone and Sudan. Gabon results in the group will not count since they are the host nation.
The draw brought to an end Confederation of Africa Football General Assembly meeting which was graced by FIFA President Sepp Blatter as well as FIFA Presidential candidates Louis Figo and Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein.
During the meeting, CAF President Issa Hayatou announced all 54 CAF members had conformed they will vote for Blatter during next month’s FIFA elections. The meeting also removed the age limit clause for all candidates contesting in CAF elections meaning Hayatou can serve beyond 2017 when his term expires.
Group A: Liberia, Djibouti, Tunisia, Togo
Group B: CAR, Madagascar, DRC, Angola
Group C: Benin, Mali, Equatorial Guinea, South Sudan
Group D: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Comoros Island
Group E: Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Congo Brazzaville, Zambia
Group F: Sao Tome, Cape Verde, Morocco, Libya
Group G: Tanzania, Chad, Nigeria, Egypt
Group H: Rwanda, Mauritius, Mozambique, Ghana
Group I: Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Gabon
Group J: Seychelles, Lesotho, Algeria, Ethiopia
Group K: Burundi, Senegal, Namibia, Niger
Group L: Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Malawi
Group M: Gambia, Mauritania, Cameroon, South Africa
Photo Credit: CAF