Cape Town - Bafana Bafana have been drawn alongside Ghana in Group C for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations with Sudan and either Mauritius or Sao Tome e Principe rounding off the group.
Stuart Baxter's side who are ranked 72nd in the world rankings were placed in Pot 2 of the qualifying phase for the African showpiece and will go up against the Black Stars who are ranked 50th.
Algeria, who meet Senegal on Friday in the 2019 AFCON
final in Cairo, must travel virtually the length of the continent three
times during the 2021 qualifying campaign.
The Desert Foxes were placed in Group H with three southern African
states, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, when the draw was made in Cairo
There are no direct air links between Algiers and Lusaka, Harare and
Gaborone, which will add to the travel time of a squad currently
captained by Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez.
It is a good draw for Algeria though, as Zimbabwe flopped in the 2019
tournament, Zambia failed to qualify and Botswana took one point from a
possible 18 in their last campaign.
Senegal, whose top player is Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, face a
slightly less daunting travel schedule in Group I against Congo
Brazzaville, Guinea-Bissau and eSwatini.
The Teranga Lions should finish comfortable winners with Congo and
Guinea-Bissau the likeliest contenders for the second qualifying place.
Madagascar, whose qualification for the quarter-finals was the shock
of the 2019 Cup of Nations, were put in Group K with the Ivory Coast,
Niger and Ethiopia.
The Ivorians appear the probable table-toppers, while the Malagasys set out to prove they are not one-tournament wonders.
Nigeria, who beat Tunisia 1-0 on Wednesday in the third place
playoff, will meet fellow west African nations Benin and Sierra Leone
Ghana and South Africa are in Group C and both should qualify at the
expense of Sudan and the winners of a preliminary round tie between
Mauritius and Sao Tome e Principe.
Although automatic qualifiers as hosts, Cameroon will take part to
gain competitive match practice, leaving Cape Verde, Mozambique and
Rwanda to contest the other Group F place.
Uganda, the strongest of the east African nations at the 2019
tournament, are with Burkina Faso, Malawi and South Sudan or the
Seychelles in Group B.
The four two-leg preliminary ties will be played in October and the group phase kicks off the following month with two rounds.
Liberia v Chad
South Sudan v Seychelles
Mauritius v Sao Tome e Principe
Djibouti v Gambia
First, second legs: Oct 7-15
Mali, Guinea, Namibia, Liberia/Chad
Burkina Faso, Uganda, Malawi, South Sudan/Seychelles
Ghana, South Africa, Sudan, Mauritius/Sao Tome
Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Angola, Djibouti/Gambia
Morocco, Mauritania, Central African Republic, Burundi
Cameroon (hosts), Cape Verde, Mozambique, Rwanda
Egypt, Kenya, Togo, Comoros
Algeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana
Senegal, Congo Brazzaville, Guinea-Bissau, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland)
Tunisia, Libya, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea
Ivory Coast, Niger, Madagascar, Ethiopia
Nigeria, Benin, Sierra Leone, Lesotho
Matchdays: Nov 11-19 (two rounds), Aug 31-Sept 8 2020 (two rounds), Oct 5-13, Nov 9-17
Note: winners and runners-up qualify from each group except F,
where Cameroon automatically qualify as hosts with highest placed of
other three teams
Did not enter: Eritrea, Somalia