AFCON 2021: Gambia face Djibouti in preliminary

AFCON drawing session

By MOMODOU JARJU

The Gambia National Squad will play against Djibouti in the preliminary round of the African Cup of Nations, AFCON 2021 qualifying campaign, according to The Punch, a Nigerian newspaper.

The news broke out on Thursday in Cairo, Egypt, where the draw took place on the sidelines of the General Assembly of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF).

The 2021 tournament would be the 33th edition organized by CAF where 24 nations would qualify to the biennial international men’s football championship. This replaced the 16-team tournament which started this year.

The Scorpions, who have never played in the continent’s major tournament, have registered victories in their previous test games before the 2019 AFCON against Guinea Conakry and Morocco respectively. They won 1-0 in both games.

Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, is in the eastern part of the continent with a population of less than one million. The country’s official languages are French and Arabic

CAF confirmed that Cameroon would host the tournament after their duties to host the 2019 edition was stripped from them due to delays and concerns over violence near two of the planned venues.

The tournament is expected to be held in the summer of 2021.

Countries with the lowest ranking in Africa square off before proceeding to the group stage if they win and The Gambia and Djibouti are no exception.

The Gambia is currently ranked 161, while Djibouti is 195 in the world. Gambia’s neighbor, Senegal still remains the top team in Africa.

Below is the list of the group stage draw:

Group A: Mali, Guinea, Namibia, and W1&2

Group B: Burkina Faso, Uganda, Malawi and W3&4

Group C: Ghana, South Africa, Sudan and W5&6

Group D: RD Congo, Gabon, Angola and W7&8

Group E: Morocco, Mauritania, Central Africa and Burundi

Group F: Cameroon, Cape Verde, Mozambique and Rwanda

Group G: Egypt, Kenya, Togo and Comoros Islands

Group H: Algeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana

Group I: Senegal, Congo, Guinea-Bissau and Eswatini

Group J: Tunisia, Libya, Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea

Group K: Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Madagascar and Ethiopia and

Group L: Nigeria, Benin, Sierra Leone and Lesotho.

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