Today is the much-awaited draw for the Africa Nations Cup, Cameroun 2021. Twenty four teams including The Gambia will go into the draw at the Palais du Congress in Yaounde which will divide the entrants into six groups, from which all the winners and runners-up plus the best four third-placed teams will advance to the knockout phase. Meaning in order to progress, The Gambia must win her group or finish second, or better still be among the four best third place finishers from the group stage.
The Gambia is in Pot 4 of the seedlings alongside fellow minnows Malawi, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Comoros and Ethiopia, meaning that there is likelihood that the Scorpions will almost certainly meet one or two of Africa’s top teams.
Host Cameroon and title-holders Algeria are among the six top seeds confirmed.
Cameroon, who last hosted the biennial competition in 1972 when only eight sides participated, have been champions five times and Algeria twice.
Senegal, currently the top ranked team in the continent, and three former champions, Tunisia, Nigeria and Morocco, complete the pot one line-up.
Seeding was determined by the August Fifa rankings, which Senegal topped with, in order of position, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Mali completing the top 10.
The strength of the 24-team line-up is illustrated by Egypt and Ghana, who have won the Cup of Nations 11 times between them, being only second seeds.
Should Algeria, Egypt and third seeds Gabon be drawn together, Premier League stars Riyad Mahrez, Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be set to face each other.
There are 10 winners of the Cup of Nations among the qualifiers for the January 9-February 6 tournament at six venues in five cities, including fourth seeds Ethiopia and Sudan.