AFCON 2017: Ghana to face Mali, Uganda and Egypt in tough group D

The Senior National Team, the Black Stars of Ghana has been handed a tough draw for the group stages of AFCON 2017 which takes place in Gabon in January.

The four-time AFCON champions were drawn alongside record seven-time AFCON champions Egypt, bogey-side Uganda and Mali in Group D.

The draw held in Gabon on Wednesday evening produced a similar outcome to the Stars' 2018 World Cup qualifying group which also has Egypt and Uganda.

The Stars will be hoping to end a 35-year wait for a senior title when the competition gets underway on January 14.

Coach Avram Grant's side will begin their campaign on January 17 against Uganda at the Stade de Port Gentil, after they will face Mali (January 21) and EGypt (January 25) at the same venue.

Meanwhile, the Uganda coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic is shocked that they have been drawn to face their 2018 World Cup qualifying opponents Ghana in the group phase of 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Cranes have drawn play the Black Stars, Egypt and Mali in Group D of the tournament that will take place in Gabon from January 14 to February 5.

The draw to face Ghana highlights the recent competitions Uganda have been made to play the Black Stars in various competitions.

The sole representatives from East Africa will face Ghana in their opener on January 17 at Stade de Port Gentil in the second largest city in Gabon in a repeat of the 1978 final that saw the Black Stars lift the trophy following a 2-0 win in Accra.

“So we are going back after 39 years to repeat 1978 AFCON final against Ghana playing our opening match on January 17, 2017 at 17:00 in Port Gentil,” Uganda coach Micho said.

“People say you can escape anything but divine intervention and destiny not that is why we play Ghana and Egypt in the World Cup Qualifiers and Afcon finals group. Unbelievable.”

The Cranes were drawn in Group E of the Fifa 2018 World Cup Qualifiers along with Ghana, Egypt and Congo. The Cranes held Ghana to a goalless draw earlier this month in Tamale, the third time that the two sides have faced off in two years.

Uganda held Ghana to a 1-all draw in September 2014 at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi in the first leg of the Afcon 2015 qualifiers before defeating the Black Stars 1-0 at Namboole Stadium in Kampala in the return leg.

Uganda have drawn Egypt for the fourth time at Africa’s premier football tournament with the first being in 1962 when they lost 2-1 in the semifinals in Ethiopia before falling short by the same score line in 1974 in Egypt.

Two years later, the Pharaohs registered yet another 2-1 win over the Cranes and at Uganda’s last appearance at Afcon in 1978, they met the hosts Ghana in the final and lost 2-0.

Uganda face Ghana in the opener on January 17 at 5pm local time before taking on Egypt on January 21 at 8pm and Mali on January 25 at 8pm the Stade de Port-Gentil.

The final will be played at Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville on February 5 at 8pm.

SOURCE: Soccernet

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