By Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Warriors will face hosts Egypt in the opening match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on June 21 according to the draw of the continental showpiece held next to the pyramids in Cairo, Egypt on Friday night.
Zimbabwe, who will be aiming to progress from the group stages for the first time in the country’s history, were drawn in Group A alongside hosts Egypt, Uganda and Democratic Congo.
The draw means the Warriors will book another date with DR Congo, who they beat away before sharing the spoils at home during the qualification phase of the competition.
Zimbabwe was heavily represented at the 2019 AFCON draw with head coach Sunday Chidzambwa, team manager Wellington Mpandare, ZIFA president Felton Kamambo and ZIFA board member Chamu Chiwanza all in attendance.
Defending champions Cameroon are in Group F with Ghana, Benin and Guinea-Bissau while neighbours South Africa have been drawn in Group D alongside Morocco, Ivory Coast and Namibia.
Some of Africa’s football legends as Yaya Toure (Africa’s best player 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2011), Rigobert Song, El Hadji Diouf, Mustapha Hadji, Honsy Abd Rabo among others graced the event.
CAF President Ahmed Ahmed, Egypt’s prime minister Mostafa Boubaly, Egypt FA supremo Hassan Abo also graced the draws ceremony.
For the first time, 24 countries will be competing at arguably the best footballing fiesta on the African continent.
Cameroon are defending champions, having triumphed during the last event hosted by Gabon in 2017.
Egypt will use six stadia to host this biennial championship.
Cairo International Stadium, Air Force Stadium, Port Said Stadium, Ismailia Stadium, Suez Sport Stadium and Alexandria Stadium will be used.
2019 AFCON Draw in full
Group A: Egypt, DR Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe
Group B: Nigeria, Guinea, Madagascar, Burundi
Group C: Senegal, Algeria, Kenya, Tanzania
Group D: Morocco, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Namibia
Group E: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Angola
Group F: Cameroon, Ghana, Benin, Guinea-Bissau