It has been decided by the Confederation of African Football that the placement of the 48 countries into four pots of 12 will be determined by the latest FIFA rankings and not by a ranking of past Cup of Nations performance.
Tuesday’s draw, which will be held at the SuperSport studios in Johannesburg will feature former Bafana captain Lucas Radebe as one of the draw assistants, will see teams from Pot Four drawn first. The first country drawn out goes into Group A, the second in Group B, the third into Group C and so on.
The same procedure will then be repeated with Pots Three, Tow and One before the draw is complete.
The top two teams in each group qualify for the final, except the group where hosts Ivory Coast will be competing. They have an automatic place in the tournament line-up but compete in the qualifiers nevertheless and in their group only one other tam will qualify for the finals, to be held in June next year.
This is the same process as for the last finals, which was the second ever Cup of Nations with 24 teams.
Both Kenya and Zimbabwe were both included despite FIFA bans. CAF said that if their suspensions were not lifted a fortnight before the start of the qualifiers, they would not be able to compete and in their groups there would be only three teams involved, with the top two qualifying
It also said that Kenya and Zimbabwe would not be drawn into the same group to avoid a situation where there ended up being a group with just two participants.
Both countries have been suspended by world football’s governing body because of government interference in the running of their football associations but it looks unlikely they will sort out their impasse before next month’s deadline.
The draw pots:
- Pot One: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, DR Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast (hosts), Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia
- Pot Two: Benin, Cape Verde Islands, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia
- Pot Three: Angola, Comoros Islands. Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Togo, Zimbabwe
- Pot Four: Botswana, Burundi, Central African Republic, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Liberia, Rwanda, Sao Tome e Principe, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania