AFCON: Ghana, Algeria in group of death

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Algeria, the highest-ranked side on the continent, face a tough draw for the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
The Desert Foxes, who reached the second round of this year’s World Cup, will face Senegal, Ghana and South Africa in Group C.

Hosts Equatorial Guinea will play neighbours Gabon, Congo and Burkina Faso in Group A.
Group B features Zambia, DR Congo, Cape Verde Tunisia while in D it is Ivory Coast, Guinea, Cameroon and Mali.

The opening match of the tournament will see hosts Equatorial Guinea take on Congo on 17 January.

Congo will be coached by Claude LeRoy, who will be appearing at his eighth Nations Cup tournament with his fifth different country.

Both Equatorial Guinea and Gabon reached the quarter-finals when they co-hosted the tournament in 2012.
Burkina Faso will be looking to prove their run to the final in 2013, when they lost to Nigeria, was not just a one-off achievement.

Zambia lifted the trophy in 2012 and played all their matches before the final in Equatorial Guinea.

Tunisia were also at the 2012 finals but played their games in neighbouring Gabon while DR Congo and Cape Verde did not qualify.

In Group C, Senegal will be hoping to forget their last trip to Equatorial Guinea when they lost all three of their matches, despite being some people’s tip to win the tournament.

However Alain Giresse’s side will have their work cut out for them as they face what many will no doubt be calling the ‘Group of Death.’

It includes resurgent South African side who were unbeaten in the qualifiers, an Algerian side ranked number one in Africa by Fifa and Ghana, who will be under the leadership of the experienced Avram Grant.

Group D reunites Cameroon and Ivory Coast after they were in the same pool for the qualifying stages.

Cameroon managed to put a poor World Cup behind them to go unbeaten to reach the 2015 finals, a run that included a 4-1 win over Ivory Coast in Yaounde.

Ivory Coast conceded 11 goals en-route to the finals and lost 4-3 at home to DR Congo along the way.

The Guinea squad will be representing a nations that has been ravaged by the deadly Ebola virus and will be determined to give fans back home something to cheer about.

The Syli Nationale had to play all their matches away from home after being prevented from playing in Conakry because of Ebola.

Mali will have fond memories of Equatorial Guinea as it was in the capital Malabo that they clinched the first of their consecutive third place finishes at the Nations Cup.

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