West African neighbours Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina and Togo will lock horns in northern Angolan province, Cabinda.
Cabinda is an enclave and Angolan province bounded by the North by the Republic of Congo and will serve as the base for the all West African affair in Group B.
The group described as the ‘toughest’ has two of the continent’s five representatives for next year’s World Cup; Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
The Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, the top seeds for the draw will open their campaign against Stallions of Burkina Faso in a repeat of the qualifiers whilst Ghana’s Black Stars face Eastern neighbours, the Hawks of Togo.
Cote d’Ivoire Coach Vahid Halilhodzic reckons the challenges ahead despite their pre-tournament favourites’ tag.
“It’s a difficult group but we are the favourites. We know very well about Burkina Faso having played against them during the qualifiers.”
The Bosnian-born trainer also rates high neighbours, Ghana, who have also qualified for the first ever Mundial to be staged on African soil next year in South Africa.
“Ghana too is a strong team, but we are coming to Africa Cup of Nations with lots of ambitions.”
The Elephants placed fourth during the last edition held in Ghana in 2008 and Halilhodzic is seeking to improve on that feat.
Kwesi Nyantakyi, President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) has tagged the Cabinda-based group as the “group of death” with his team and their West neighbours Cote d’Ivoire as the favourites to ease through.
“I think it is the most difficult group of the tournament. The four teams are neighbours and very strong teams. We just hope that Ghana will make it to the next stage.
“Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are the strongest but in a competition like this, you can’t underrate any team. You do so at your own peril. We hope to prepare feverishly to achieve our target – ultimate.”
The Black Stars, winners in 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982 settled for bronze as hosts of the last edition in 2008.
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