The battle lines have officially been drawn, as 24 strong African nations now know who they will be facing in the group stages of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023.

The Official Draw was conducted on Thursday, 12 October at a glitzy affair held in Abidjan where African football royalty in the form of Didier Drogba, Sadio Mane, Achraf Hakimi as well as John Obi Mikel were present as the Draw Assistants.

CAFOnline shares some of the reactions from coaches and members of the participating teams post the Draw.

Augustin Senghor, President of the Senegalese FA: “Senegal inherited a tough group. But it’s in adversity that we rise to the occasion and achieve great things. We’re going to face two neighbours, Gambia and Guinea. These two have a lot to offer. Senegal-Cameroon duels have always been intense matches and we’re getting ready to face them in a few days’ time. This friendly that we will be playing with them soon now takes on a whole new dimension with this draw”.

Jean-Louis Gasset, Côte d’Ivoire coach: “We’ve made up our minds now. We know what we’re going to work on. Facing a team like Nigeria and their attacking prowess motivates us because we’re not looking for the easy way out. We’ll be supported by an entire nation, which is an incredible asset”.

Dodo Landu, Democratic Republic of Congo Team Manager: “The big team of our group is Morocco. We met them in the play-off of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers to Qatar. We mustn’t repeat the mistakes we made in the second leg of that clash. Everyone’s eyes are on Morocco, but this group also has Zambia and Tanzania. They’re always tough to play against. It’s up to us to prepare well. We’ll be in Abidjan, a city that brings good luck to the Leopards, as we won our first CHAN here in this city”

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Tom Saintfiet, Gambia coach: “We’re in the toughest group of the competition with the African champions. The boys will be more motivated to perform. We also have Cameroon, who eliminated us at the last Africa Cup of Nations. It’s going to be a great opportunity for revenge”

Achraf Hakimi, Morocco defender: “We have the tag of semi-finalists at the World Cup. We have to do everything we can to win this trophy (editor’s note: pointing to it on stage at the Parc des Expositions in Abidjan). It’s not an easy group but we’re going to focus on ourselves and our qualities to achieve our goals and objectives.”

Kaba Diawara, the Guinea coach from Portugal: “We followed the draw with the players. We are in the group of death as they say. We really respect everyone. And I hope it goes well. Either way, we really have our chances. We will have to be strong from the first match. We know we have our say. Maybe it’s not a gift for others to have us in the group. We really have a good chance of qualifying”

CAF Communications

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