Champions Senegal get comfortable draw for AFCON qualifiers

Senegal claimed the AFCON title after beating Egypt in the final earlier this year. Ayman Aref/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Reigning champions Senegal have been handed a straightforward draw for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) group qualifiers that kick off in June.

They were paired with Benin, Mozambique and Rwanda in Group L in the draw conducted on Tuesday, with the top two finishers qualifying for next year's finals in the Ivory Coast.

Egypt, runners-up at the last edition in February, also look to have a comfortable path to a record 26th finals appearance in Group D, where they are up against Ethiopia, Guinea and Malawi.

Kenya and Zimbabwe were included in Tuesday's draw despite FIFA suspensions, but will be kicked out of the qualifiers if their respective football association officials are not restored to their posts before the matches start in two months' time

However those FAs are unlikely to be reinstated by world football's governing body as their governments have taken strong action against officials they accuse of corruption.

The groups in which Kenya and Zimbabwe were drawn are therefore set to be left with only three teams.

Group A: Guinea Bissau, Mauritius or Sao Tome e Principe, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

Group B: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde Islands, Eswatini, Togo

Group C: Burundi, Cameroon, Kenya, Namibia

Group D: Egypt, Ethiopia, Guinea, Malawi

Group E: Angola, Central African Republic, Ghana, Madagascar

Group F: Algeria, Niger, Tanzania, Uganda

Group G: Congo, Gambia, Mali, South Sudan

Group H: Comoros Islands, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Zambia

Group I: DR Congo, Gabon, Mauritania, Sudan

Group J: Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Tunisia

Group K: Liberia, Morocco, South Africa, Zimbabwe

Group L: Benin, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal

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The top two teams in each group qualify for the finals in June next year, except Group H where hosts Ivory Coast are participating and only one other team will go through.

The qualifiers start in June with two matchdays, followed by two more in September and the final two in March next year.