Ghana are set to face off against familiar foes Egypt and Uganda after drawing the two, who are also featured in same qualifying group for the 2018 Fifa World Cup, as well as Mali in Group D for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted by Gabon.
The Black Stars were among 16 teams divided into four groups of four at the event held at the Stade de l'Amitié in Libreville on Friday.
It was indeed a colourful event, beautifully opened with the Gabonese national anthem and elegantly followed by a cultural performance themed in the rich African story.
In attendance were dignitaries including Caf President Issa Hayatou, Gabon Prime Minister Franck Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet, football association presidents, coaches, among others.
The grace of the event was apparent, the excitement of the neutrals was glaring, the anxiety of representatives of the qualified teams was telling, and after a few speeches at intervals, all came down to the big draw!
To be based in Port-Gentil, the Black Stars will open their Afcon campaign against Uganda on January 17, before taking on Mali four days later.
Avram Grant’s side will then wrap up their group activities against Egypt, whom they are set to play on November 13 in the World Cup qualifiers, on January 25.
Although the Black Stars lost 1-0 to the Pharaohs in the final of the 2010 Afcon in Angola - their last clash at the tournament - it will, perhaps, be the Cranes who will provide the West Africans’ the biggest test.
Ghana are winless in their last three matches against Uganda. Their last meeting ended in a goalless stalemate in Tamale in the World Cup qualifiers earlier this month.
The Black Stars’ last match with Mali at the tournament, meanwhile, ended in a 3-1 defeat at the 2013 Afcon in the third-place playoff.
Elsewhere, host nation Gabon predictably made Group A, alongside Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Guinea Bissau.
Group B comprises 2004 champions Tunisia, Algeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe while Group C includes defending champions Cote d’Ivoire, DR. Congo, Morocco and Togo.
The 2015 Afcon will run between January 14 and February 5 in four host cities.
GROUP A – Libreville
- Burkina Faso
- Guinea Bissau
GROUP B – Franceville
GROUP C – Oyem
- Ivory Coast
- DR Congo
GROUP D: Port Gentil