It’s no longer a secret about who Uganda Cranes will face at the group stage of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon.
The Cranes have been drawn along side 2018 World Cup qualifiers opponents Ghana and Egypt, and are joined by Mali in Group D.
The mood inside the ASMG Tent in Stade De’ L’Amitie Arena during the AFCON 2017 draws was pensive, thrilling but tense as well.
Each of the 16 finalists who will play at the finals in Gabon and millions across the globe were eager to know their feat.
Uganda’s two man team of Commissioner in the Ministry of Educations and Sports Omara Apitta and Uganda Cranes head coach Milutin Sredejovic fitted in to the moment of the time with pregnant expectations.
Mayor of Libreville City, Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda officially ushered in her special guests from across the continent and the entire world who included Portugese Legend Deco with a warm collective embrace accompanied by an infectious smile.
CAF President lauded all the finalists and in a special way appreciated the efforts of the host nation before he officially handed over the AFCON trophy to the country’s Prime Minister, Daniel Ona Ondo.
“We will not back away from the tournament, We are ready and we will organize an exceptional tournament,” the Premier stated in a brief address.
Guests were treated to the traditional soul food with passionate musical interludes from Lauriane Ekondo and Shan’l.
Moments later, CAF General Secretary Hicham Al Amrani explained to the gallery how the draw would be conducted.
Come the draws proper, Senegalese legend Kalilou Fadiga drew the first top seeds from Pot 1 and all Pot 4 teams.
Micho with Senegal Legend, Kalilou Fadiga before the draws
Francoise Amegasse, a former Gabon International who participated in AFCON 1994, 1996 and 1998 drew the teams from Pot 3.
Karim Abdul Razak, tormentor of Uganda Cranes at the 1978 finals in Ghana picked the final countries in Pot 2.
Hosts Gabon are in Group A with Burkina Faso, Cameroon and first timers Guinea Bissau in all West Africa affair.
Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal and Zimbabwe complete Group C whilst Cote D’Ivoire, DR Congo, Morocco and Togo are all housed in Group C.
Group D will witness two of Uganda Cranes’ 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers opponents Ghana and seven time African champions, Egypt in the same group alongside West Africans, Mali.
The Cranes will open the campaign on the 17th January 2017 against Ghana. On 21st, it will be against Egypt before winding up the group business on 25th January in Oyem City.
The first two matches are in Port Gentil City.
Uganda Cranes qualified for the finals for the first time since 1978.
GROUP A: Gabon, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea Bissau
GROUP B: Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Zimbabwe
GROUP C: Cote D’Ivoire, DR Congo, Morocco, Togo
GROUP D: Ghana, Mali, Egypt, Uganda