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Africa U20 Cup of Nations

Returning Nigeria get hosts Egypt in tough 2023 Africa U20 Cup of Nations draw

5:28 am AEDT 24/12/22
Nigeria U20
The Flying Eagles have their work cut out at the biennial tournament after landing in the same group with the home side

Nigeria have been placed in a tough group that has hosts and four-time champions Egypt for the 2023 Africa U20 Cup of Nations following the draw conducted in Cairo on Friday.

The Flying Eagles are in Group A alongside Egypt, winners in 1981, 1991, 2003 and 2013, Senegal, runners-ups in 2015, 2017 and 2019 as well as Mozambique, who are making their second appearance.

Nigeria, who are making their 12th appearance at the biennial tournament, are the most successful team with seven titles, but missed out on the 2021 edition with their last win coming in 2015.

Hosts Egypt, meanwhile, will be under pressure to deliver at home in what is also their 12th tournament, and having last participated in 2017, they will be keen to reclaim the title they last won in 2013.

With holders Ghana eliminated at the qualifying stage, a new champion will be crowned and there are other favourites besides Nigeria and Egypt. Uganda, runners-up in 2021, will be keen to make a statement of intent, having landed in a Group B that also has Central Africa Republic, South Sudan and Congo.

Congo, who are making a return since 2015 in what is their third appearance, won the competition in 2007 while it is the second time for 2021 quarter-finalists CAR. South Sudan are making their debut.

Meanwhile, Group C has 2017 winners Zambia, who are back since their victory five years ago, the Gambia, third place finishers in 2007 and 2021 as well as Benin, who also managed bronze in 2005.

The Junior Squirrels of Benin overcame Ghana conquerors Burkina Faso 2-1 in the final round of the qualifiers to seal their ticket.

Egypt will host the 17th edition of the Afcon U20 between February 19 and March 11, 2023.