The Super Eagles of Nigeria have been drawn in Group A with hosts Cote D’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea Bissau.
The draw was held on Thursday night in Abidjan, the capital city of Cote D’Ivoire, where the tournament will kick off on January 13.
Nigeria, who have won the continental title three times in 1980, 1994, and 2013, qualified for the tournament as the top team in their group with 15 points.
They scored 14 goals in six matches, including a 10-0 aggregate win over Sao Tome and Principe. The Super Eagles will hope to replicate their impressive form and clinch the trophy for the fourth time in their history.
However, they will have to overcome some formidable opponents in their group, especially the hosts Cote D’Ivoire, who have won the AFCON twice in 1992 and 2015, and boast some of Africa’s best players such as Wilfried Zaha and Nicolas Pepe.
Equatorial Guinea has qualified for its fourth AFCON appearance, having hosted the tournament in 2012 and 2015. It reached the quarter-finals in both editions, and it will aim to cause some upsets again.
Guinea Bissau are making their second consecutive appearance at the AFCON, after debuting in 2019. They were also in Nigeria’s group in the last edition, where they lost 1-0 to the Super Eagles.
The captivating ceremony featured current and former football superstars, Didier Drogba, Mikel Obi, Sadio Mane and Achraf Hakimi, supporting as Draw Assistants for the Final Draw.
Algeria, who are the defending champions, were drawn in Group B against Senegal, Sierra Leone and Liberia in what looks a competitive pool.
Egypt, hunting a record-extending eighth continental crown, will face Ghana in Group C in a repeat of the 2010 final which the Pharaohs won late on. Cape Verde and Mozambique complete the group.
Tunisia, Mali, Congo DR and South Africa add further star quality to Group D in another exciting pool.
Elsewhere, 2022 World Cup semi-finalists Morocco should navigate a comfortable Group E containing Zambia, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
Matches will take place at six venues across the country, including newly constructed stadiums in Abidjan, Korhogo and San Pedro.
Group A: Cote D’Ivoire (hosts), Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau
Group B: Algeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia
Group C: Egypt, Ghana, Comoros, Djibouti
Group D: Tunisia, Mali, Congo DR, Mauritania
Group E: Morocco, Zambia, Tanzania, Ethiopia
Group F: South Africa, Burkina Faso, Gabon
The top two teams from each group and the four best third-placed teams will advance to the round of 16.
The final will be played on February 11 at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan.