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Thursday, 04 July 2024 16:07

Bafana Bafana get tough draw as AFCON 2025 pools are released.

Staff Reporter.

South Africa will face South Sudan, Congo and Uganda in their 2025 Africa Cup of Nations qualification pool, while west African giants Nigeria will criss-cross the continent as they meet now familiar foes Rwanda, Libya and Benin.

There are few small teams in African football these days and each presents their own challenge, but both should feel they can advance to the finals that will be staged in Morocco from December 21, 2025 to January 18, 2026.

The draw for the preliminary rounds was made on Thursday, with the top two teams in each qualification group advancing to the 24-team tournament.

The preliminaries will be played between September and November this year meaning the teams who are in form for those three months will have the best chance of reaching Morocco 2025.

South Africa have lost once in 10 meetings with Congo (W5 D4), never lost to Uganda (W3 D1) and never played South Sudan, who will become the 49th African opponent for Bafana.

There may be some difficult away days in there, but coach Hugo Broos will expect to top this pool.

Nigeria perhaps have it tougher, and lost to Benin in a World Cup qualifier just last month. They also have Rwanda in their qualification pool for 2026, but have not played them yet, with the first game scheduled for March 2025.

These Cup of Nations qualifiers will therefore give them the perfect opportunity to prepare for those.

Hosts Morocco are in Group B along with Gabon, Central African Republic and Lesotho, and will qualify automatically, meaning only one of the other three can join them.

Defending champions Ivory Coast are alongside Zambia, Sierra Leone and Chad in their pool, while Egypt have got Cape Verde, Mauritania and Botswana.

Ghana have not been in great form of late so will be wary of Angola, Sudan and Niger, all of who can be difficult opponents.

Senegal will expect to be in the top two in their pool when they take on Burkina Faso, Malawi and Burundi.