Following the draw for the final tournament held in Yaoundé on Tuesday 17 August, The Gambia has been drawn in Group F comprising Mauritania, Mali and Tunisia. The draw has already sent fans tongue wagging about the Scorpions chances. While many views the draw as fairly kind with Tunisia and Mali seemingly formidable opponents for the inexperienced Gambia, others feel the Scorpions can manage a good third place over Mauritania if push comes to shove.
Tom Saintfeit had said on the eve of the draw that The Gambia will not be afraid of any side but he surely will be relieved that his boys have avoided noisy but stronger neighbors Senegal , Algeria or host Cameroun in the first huddle. In the draw the 24 qualified teams were divided into four groups. CAF President, Dr Patrice Motsepe was in the front row to attend the draw, as well as the COCAN President and Minister of Sports of Cameroon, Prof. Narcisse Mouelle Kombi.
The start of the show was given all in music by the artist composer and performer Salatiel, author of “Ca se passe ici”. Cameroon’s cultural diversity was also presented through local dance
The opening match will pit tournament host and five-time Africa Cup of Nations winners Cameroon against Burkina Faso, runners-up of 2013 AFCON. 52 countries took part in the qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations with only 24 places available. The qualified teams unveiled after a campaign that started in October 2019 and ended in June 2021, due to the one-year hiatus caused by Covid-19, are now fixed on their opponents.
Five main cities were selected as hosts of the tournament, namely Douala and its Japoma Stadium, Yaoundé and its Ahmadou Ahidjo and Olembé Stadiums, Bafoussam and its Kouekong Stadium, Garoua and its Roumdjié-Adja Stadium and finally the Limbe-Buea venue which houses the Limbe Omnisport Stadium.
Group A: Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopie, Cape Verde
Group B: Senegal, Zimbabwe, Guinee, Malawi
Group C: Morocco, Ghana, Comoros, Gabon
Group D: Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau
Group E: Algeria, Sierra-Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire
Group F: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia
Road to Final
o Group stage: from January 9 to 20, 2022
o Round of 16: January 23-26, 2022
o Quarter-finals: January 29 and 30, 2022
o Semi-finals: February 2 and 3, 2022
o Third Place match and Final: February 6, 2022