AFCON Gabon 2017: Sierra Leone will face tougher opponents in holders Ivory Coast, Sudan and host Gabon in Group I
A Very strong and tough route for Sierra Leone to qualify from having been pitched alongside holders Ivory Coast, Sudan and host Gabon, the three other teams in the group.
The draws conducted in Cairo, Egypt on Wednesday, 52 CAF members were shared into 13 groups comprising of four teams each and the first round of qualifying fixtures will take place between June 8-16 – the winners of each group will qualify along with the host nation Gabon and the two best losers.
Defending champion, Cote d’Ivoire is well placed to qualify from this group considering the squad quality as compared to Sudan, Sierra Leone and Gabon.
Meanwhile, 2012 co-host Gabon was named as the host of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. Gabon beat Ghana and Algeria to the hosting rights of the 31st edition of the AFCON.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Issa Hayatou announced the news at a ceremony on Wednesday.
A Gabonese Football Federation official said matches would be staged in capital city Libreville, Franceville, Port Gentil and Oyem.
Libya had been initially selected to stage the competition, but its hosting rights were withdrawn in August last year due to the unstable security situation in the country.
Full AFCON Draws:
Group A: Djibouti, Liberia, Togo, Tunisia
Group B: Angola, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo,
Group C: Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, South Sudan
Group D: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Comoros Islands, Uganda
Group E: Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Zambia
Group F: Cape Verde Islands, Libya, Morocco, Sao Tome e Principe
Group G: Chad, Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania Group H: Ghana, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda
Group I: Gabon (hosts)* Ivory Coast (holders), Sierra Leone, Sudan
Group J: Algeria, Ethiopia Lesotho, Seychelles
Group K: Burundi, Namibia, Niger, Senegal
Group L: Guinea, Malawi, Swaziland, Zimbabwe
Group M: Cameroon, Gambia, Mauritania