Nigeria draw Sierra Leone in WAFU Nations Cup; Ghana get Gambia

Pako Ayestaran and Salisu Yusuf EPA/MANUEL BRUQUE

The draw for the WAFU Cup of Nations for West Africa's senior national teams was held at the Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra on Thursday.

Nigeria, runners-up in 2011 on home soil, have drawn Sierra Leone in a game that stands between themselves and a place in the group stage.

It will be a good test for the home-based Nigeria team led by Coach Salisu Yusuf, with many of that squad keen to impress Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr ahead of the World Cup qualifying double-header against Cameroon at the end of August and beginning of September.

The WAFU Cup of Nations, which features all 16 regional teams, pitches defending champions Ghana against The Gambia in their opening Zone A knockout match, with the Black Stars and Nigeria set to meet in the group stage if they advance past the first round.

Group A will also be completed by the winners of Mali's match against Mauritania and Guinea's showdown with Guinea-Bissau.

In Zone B, Senegal meet Liberia, Burkina Faso have been pitted against Niger, the Cote d'Ivoire must oust Togo to advance and Benin have been drawn with Cape Verde.

The tournament will be held in the cities of Sekondi-Takoradi and Cape Coast between the ninth and 24th of September.

The competition, exclusively open to home-based professionals, will be held in a unique format that sees 16 teams play single knockout games before the winners advance to two four-team groups.

Zone A (Sekondi-Takoradi)

Ghana vs. The Gambia, Nigeria vs. Sierra Leone, Mali vs. Mauritania, Guinea vs. Guinea-Bissau

Zone B (Cape Coast)

Senegal vs. Liberia, Burkina Faso vs. Niger, Cote d'Ivoire vs. Togo, Benin vs. Cape Verde