The Black Stars of Ghana have been drawn alongside fellow World Cup qualifiers Ivory Coast in Group B, a group of death, comprising Togo and Burkina Faso for the 2010 African Cup of Nations finals, next January.
Angola versus Mali in Group A will be the opening game of the tournament.
The 32-fixture tournament will be played at four new Chinese-built stadiums in Luanda, Benguela, Cabinda and Lubango.
Group A will be based in Luanda, Group B will be in Cabinda in the north of the country, Group C will play in Benguela, and Group D will be based in Lubango.
It will be a tough battle in Group B where Ghana, four-time champions have a date with Ivory Coast, a side they beat to bronze at the last CAN.
The group will also throw up a clash between Ghana’s Michael Essien and Chelsea teammates Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou of the Ivory Coast in the three-week tournament.
In Group A, hosts Angola will line up against Algeria, Mali and Malawi, back for a second appearance 25 years after last competing.
Angola and Mali will be play in the opening game of the tournament at the 50,000-seater Cidadela Stadium in the capital, Luanda on 10 January 2010.
Holders, Egypt will start from Benguela in Group C with Mozambique, Benin, Nigeria, who have also qualified for the World Cup.
In Lubango, Cameroon qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, former African champions and potential winners of the CAN will be there Gabon, Zambia, Tunisia.
Two top teams from each group will advance to the quarter-finals.
The tournament begins on 10 January 2010 in Luanda and reaches it climax at the same venue on January 31.
The 16 teams were seeded according to their performances at the last three Nations Cup tournaments.
Hosts Angola, defending champions Egypt, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast were the top seeds for the four groups.
The other 12 teams in the draw were Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Togo, Tunisia and Zambia.
The draw itself was a colourful event featuring Congolese artist Papa Wemba and other Angolan singers.
Confederation of African Football president, Issa Hayatou, and members of his executive committee who were present had a rare public appearance from Angola President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, ruler of this oil-rich country for 30 years.
"Groups and Reactions"
Group A: Angola, Mali, Algeria, Malawi.
Group B: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso.
Group C: Egypt, Nigeria, Benin, Mozambique.
Group D: Cameroon, Tunisia, Zambia, Gabon.
Nigeria's coach Shaibu Amodou was present at the draw and said that on paper Nigeria should emerge from Group B, but he added a word of caution.
"There are no small teams in football any more" he said.
Nigeria's former captain Sunday Oliseh described Nigeria's group as a "delicate" one.
Former Angolan football legend Akwa said he thought all the groups looked difficult.
"It's not just Algeria and Angola that could go through, Mali have a good national team and they can give us a lot of problems" he said.
However, when asked how far Angola can go, he said "I believe we can reach the final".
Group B is being touted as the group of death with the prospect of Ghana and Ivory Coast renewing their rivalry.
The Chairman of Ghana's Football Association said "there is no better description of this group".
"Ivory Coast and Ghana are two of the best teams in Africa".
"The group is interesting because Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Togo are all our neighbours".
"Togo has Adebayor, one of the best players in the world, and Burkina Faso's Moumouni Dagano is the top scorer of the World Cup qualifying campaign," he said.
However history favours Ghana as they've met seven times and the Ivorians have won just one of those encounters.
Former Cameroon striker Patrick Mboma said that Group D will be no pushover either.
"We've only recently seen what Gabon can do" he said.
However he predicted that the Indomitable Lions would reach the semi-finals, after which anything can happen.
"We have a new Indomitable Lions, a new captain, a new coach and hopefully a new reality, and I hope we can start the new year in the best way," he said.
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