The draw has been made for the 2019 African Nations Cup qualifiers with some intriguing pools to determine the 15 qualifiers for the finals in Cameroon in two years’ time.
A preliminary round will be played in March before the 12 pools start in June with 48 teams to take part in that stage. The top side in each group and the three best runners-up join hosts Cameroon in the finals.
Africa’s top-ranked side Senegal headline Group A, where they will take on Equatorial Guinea, Sudan and the winner of a preliminary rounds tie between Sao Tome e Principe and Madagascar.
Cameroon have been entered into the qualifiers despite being hosts, though they are guaranteed a place at the finals. They have Morocco, Malawi, and the winner of a preliminary round tie between Comoros Islands and Mauritius in their pool.
Should the Indomitable Lions win the pool then the runner-up will qualify for the finals as well.
Mali, Gabon, Burundi, and the winner or a preliminary round tie between Djibouti and South Sudan will contest Group C.
Algeria will be expected to qualify from Group D, but must overcome Togo, Benin, Gambia first.
All eyes will be on Group E where bitter rivals Nigeria and South Africa clash, along with Libya and Seychelles. Bafana Bafana ousted the Super Eagles from the 2015 qualifiers, with neither side reaching the 2017 finals that start in Gabon on Saturday.
Ghana will be expected to win Group F but will not take any of Ethiopia, Sierra Leone or Kenya lightly.
There will be another huge match-up in Group G in a battle of the Congos as the Democratic Republic of Congo take on Congo-Brazzaville, as well as ever-improving Zimbabwe and Liberia.
The Ivory Coast will also be wary of their Group H opponents Guinea, while the Central African Republic have also improved of late and Rwanda make up a tricky fourth participant in the pool.
Burkina Faso, Angola, Botswana and Mauritania in Group I, before a big north African match-up headlines Group J.
Tunisia and Egypt will face-off for top spot, while Niger and Swaziland are the other two teams in the pool.
Three sides from Southern Africa compete in Group K as Zambia, Mozambique and Namibia take on this year’s surprise package Guinea Bissau.
Finally, the Cape Verde’s flagging fortunes makes Group L a tough one to call as take on Uganda, Tanzania and Lesotho.
20-28 March 2017: 2 Legs of the Preliminary Round
05-13 June 2017: Match Day 1
19-27 March 2018: Match Day 2
03-11 September 2018: Match Day 3 & Match Day 4
08-16 October 2018: Match Day 5
05-13 November 2018: Match Day 6
Sao Tome e Principe v Madagascar
Comoros Islands v Mauritius
Djibouti v South Sudan
Group A: Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Sao Tome e Principe or Madagascar
Group B: Cameroon, Morocco, Malawi, Comoros Islands or Mauritius
Group C: Mali, Gabon, Burundi, Djibouti or South Sudan
Group D: Algeria, Togo, Benin, Gambia
Group E: Nigeria, South Africa, Libya, Seychelles
Group F: Ghana, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Kenya
Group G: Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Zimbabwe, Liberia
Group H: Ivory Coast, Guinea, Central African Republic, Rwanda
Group I: Burkina Faso, Angola, Botswana, Mauritania
Group J: Tunisia, Egypt, Niger, Swaziland
Group K: Zambia, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Namibia
Group L: Cape Verde Islands, Uganda, Tanzania, Lesotho