Sebastien Migne eager to know Harambee Starsâ€™ opponents in Egypt
African football enthusiasts will tonight (9 pm) find out their team’s first-round opponents at the 2019 African Cup of Nations draw in Cairo, Egypt.
The East African region will be keenly following the event in the North after four of its members, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania all qualified for the 32nd edition of the biennial showpiece.
The tournament to be played in its new 24-team format will be held between June 21 and July 19. The 24 participating teams will be drawn into six groups of four during a gala within the pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx.
While the national team Harambee Stars finished second in Group F behind four-time African champions Ghana to make a return to the continental showpiece finals after a 15 years’ hiatus, Uganda Cranes are set for their second consecutive appearance in the competition after topping Group D.
Taifa Stars and the Swallows both had to wait until the final qualifying round to secure their final tickets after they finished as runners up in their respective groups.
Tanzania upset visiting Uganda Cranes 3-0, while Burundi frustrated Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's Gabon to a 1-1 draw in their decisive Group C encounter in Bujumbura. This will be the first AFCON final for Burundi in their history.
Hosts Egypt, defending champions Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, Morocco and Tunisia are all in pot one while four-time winners Ghana headline pot two. Kenya and their perennial rivals Uganda are in pot three with another Eastern African duo of Burundi and Tanzania seeded in pot four.
Though excited ahead of the draw, Harambee Stars coach Sebastien Migne has said they are going to Egypt as worthy competitors.
"We want to prove that we deserve to be there,” Migne told Cafonline.com.
“We are here for the first time in 15 years. We are really eager to know who we are going to meet and we know it is not going to be easy. Everyone who qualified did so by merit. We have an expanded AFCON which will make it even tougher. We look forward to the draws and see we will meet and so that we finish up our plans for the preparation.”
But for the Frenchman’s predecessor, Paul Put, who is currently in charge of the Guinean national team, no one is in control of the draw.
“We shouldn't worry about something we can't control,” said the Belgian.
But Namibian coach Ricardo Manetti, who participated in AFCON tournament as a player, is praying hard not to be drawn against the hosts.
"I want to avoid the Egyptian team. It would be difficult to play against the Pharaohs in front of their audience,” said Manetti.
AFCON Teams’ seeding pots
Pot 1: Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco
Pot 2: DR Congo, Ghana, Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Algeria
Pot 3: South Africa, Uganda, Benin, Mauritania, Madagascar, Kenya
Pot 4: Zimbabwe, Namibia, Guinea Bissau, Angola, Tanzania, Burundi
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