By Orkula Shaagee
The draw ceremony for the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations finals will hold in Cairo, Egypt on Friday evening. It is scheduled to take place behind the famous Giza Pyramids as from 6pm GMT (7pm Nigeria time).
It is the biggest Africa Cup of Nations finals in the history of the competition, due to feature 24 teams, as against three teams that took part in the first edition of the competition in Sudan 62 years ago.
Hosts Egypt (who have also won the competition the highest number of times – seven), Cameroon (five -time winners and Cup holders), Nigeria (three -time winners), 2004 champions Tunisia, Senegal and 1976 champions Morocco are the seeded countries in the draw.
Egypt is also the country to have taken part the most in the championship, as she countenances a 24th appearance, while Cote d’Ivoire is heading to a 23rd show and Ghana will be making a 22nd appearance. Tunisia will make a 19th appearance while Nigeria will make her 18th appearance.
The 32nd Africa Cup of Nations will hold 21st June – 19th July 2019, in six venues: Cairo International Stadium; Borg El-Arab Stadium, Alexandria; Suez Stadium; Air Defence Stadium; Ismailia Stadium and; Al Salam Stadium.
President of the Nigeria Football Federation and 1st Vice President of CAF, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who is also the President of the AFCON organizing committee, will be joined at the ceremony by the NFF Secretary General, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi who arrived in Cairo on Wednesday. Pinnick has been in Cairo since the beginning of the week, leading final inspection teams across the various stadia, and chairing the AFCON committee meeting on Wednesday.
A total of 14 countries, out of the 54 member-nations of CAF, have won the AFCON trophy, namely: Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, DR Congo, Cote d’Ivoire Algeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Congo-Brazzaville and Zambia.
Six other countries have reached the final without ever winning it: Mali, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Guinea, Libya and Senegal.