Egypt to face World Cup opponents Ghana, Uganda in African Nations Cup

Hatem Maher , Wednesday 19 Oct 2016,
Egypt v Ghana
Egypt's Mohamed Salah (R) vies for the ball against Ghana's Daniel Amartey during the 2018 World Cup qualifying Group E football match between Egypt and Ghana at the Borg el-Arab Stadium near Alexandria on November 13, 2016. (AFP)

Egypt were drawn among familiar faces at next year's African Cup of Nations finals in Gabon after Wednesday's draw in Libreville paired them with World Cup qualifying opponents Ghana and Uganda.

Hector Cuper's men will also play Mali in Group D as they prepare to make their first Nations Cup appearance since winning the last of their record seven titles in 2010.

Back then, Egypt prevailed with a narrow 1-0 victory over Ghana in a nail-biting final as a new-found rivalry arose from some crucial meetings between both sides in recent years.

The matches pitting the continent heavyweights included a painful one for Egypt in 2013 when they suffered a stunning 7-3 aggregate defeat by Ghana in a World Cup qualifying playoff, including a 6-1 first-leg embarrassment in Kumasi.

Egypt were also drawn with Ghana and Uganda in their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Uganda held Ghana to a surprise 0-0 away draw while Egypt kicked off their Group E campaign with a 2-1 win at Congo. Egypt next face Ghana in a vital qualifier at home next month.

Egypt lost only once in 20 meetings with Uganda. Their last match was a 2013 friendly in Egypt that saw the hosts claim a 3-0 win.

The Pharaohs also last faced Mali in a friendly in 2010, which they won 1-0 courtesy of a goal from former forward Mohamed Gedo.

Gedo was the hero of Egypt's last Nations Cup triumphant campaign, scoring five goals - all off the bench - to finish as the tournament's top scorer.

Egypt, who were seeded third, avoided being drawn in the tougher Group B which includes North African rivals Algeria and Tunisia along with powerhouses Senegal and minnows Zimbabwe or Group C that includes Ivory Coast, DR Congo, Morocco and Togo.

Assistant coach Mahmoud Fayez said before the draw that Argentinean boss Cuper was not concerned over Egypt's Nations Cup opponents, preferring instead to fully focus on the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Ghana.

The Nations Cup will be played from 14 January to 5 February in Libreville, Franceville, Oyem and Port Gentil.

The full draw:

Group A: Gabon, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea Bissau

Group B:Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Zimbabwe

Group C:Ivory Coast, DR Congo, Morocco, Togo

Group D:Ghana, Mali, Egypt, Uganda

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)


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