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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 February 2006, 15:27 GMT
Caf releases Nations Cup draw
Defending champions Egypt have a favourable qualifying group

Holders Egypt will start the defence of their African Nations Cup title against Burundi in Cairo in September.

The 2006 winners were handed a relatively easy passage through to the 2008 finals in Ghana after being paired with Botswana, Burundi and Mauritania in their qualifying group.

The draw for the 2008 tournament was released by the Confederation of African Football in Cairo on Thursday.

The Ivory Coast, the runner-up at Egypt 2006, are in Group One with Gabon, Madagascar and Djibouti, while 2006 bronze medallists Nigeria are in Group Three with Lesotho, Uganda and Niger.

The opening round of group matches are to be played between 1-3 September, with the final round of games ending between 7-9 September 2007.

Forty-seven countries will compete in 12 groups to qualify for 15 out of the 16 places at the 2008 finals.

Automatic qualification is guaranteed to the team that tops each group, while the top three runners-up in the groups consisting of four teams will join them.

This means that only one team has the chance of qualifying from Group 12, which has just three teams - Morocco, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Ghana qualify for the 2008 tournament as hosts.

Nations Cup qualifying groups

Group One
Gabon, Madagascar, Djibouti, Ivory Coast.

Group Two
Mauritania, Botswana, Egypt, Burundi.

Group Three
Uganda, Lesotho, Nigeria, Niger.

Group Four
Sudan, Seychelles, Mauritius, Tunisia.

Group Five
Rwanda, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia.

Group Six
Swaziland, Angola, Kenya, Eritrea.

Group Seven
Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Sénégal, Mozambique.

Group Eight
Guinea, Algeria, Gambia, Cape Verde.

Group Nine
Sierra Leone, Mali, Togo, Bénin.

Group Ten
Ethiopia, Libya, DR Congo, Namibia.

Group Eleven
South Africa, Congo, Chad, Zambia.

Group Twelve
Morocco, Malawi, Zimbabwe.



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