Emmanuel Okwi closes down a Malawi opponent during an international friendly match that ended goal-less Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE

AFCON 2021 Qualifiers:

  • Group B: Burkina Faso, Uganda, Malawi, (Winner South Sudan or Seychelles)

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualification groups were drawn in Cairo during the 41st Confederation of African Football (CAF) Ordinary Assembly.

All the 54 African countries were drawn in 12 groups (group A to L) from whom the top two countries will qualify for the final tournament that will be hosted by Cameroon come the year 2021.

Uganda Cranes was drawn in group B with West Africans Burkina Faso, central African country Malawi and the winner between South Sudan with Seychelles.

For starters, South Sudan will lock horns with Seychelles in a two legged affair to determine who makes it to the group stages.

Taking a look at group B proper; Uganda is the only country that was represented at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Ironically, Burkina Faso remains the highest ranked country in group B.

Seated 59th, the West Africans have accumulated a total of 1381 points as per 21st July 2019.

Uganda is 21 places below Burkina Faso on 80th position with a total of 1299 points.

Malawi follows suit in 126th place on 1131 points.

South Sudan, one of FIFA’s newest members is 168th (989 points) as Seychelles lies a distant 194th with 902 points.

Burkina Faso team. Credit: Courtesy

Burkina Faso has played at 11 AFCON championships in 1978, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and lately 2017.

Playing styles and strength:

Burkina Faso:

Burkina Faso and Malawi share a lot in the playing style with a physical component employed.

Whereas the Burkinables have over the years exceled with individually exceptional players many of whom play in French clubs, the Les Etalons are fast off the breaks and strong defensively.

Often times, Burkina Faso has been outstanding with that quick counter attack to punish the opponents.

Of course, their vastly experienced coach in Paulo Duarte is another push factor to such an organized country that was surprisingly missing from the 2019 edition in Egypt.

Malawi National Team Credit: Courtesy Photo


The Malawi Flames, like Burkina Faso are a physically strong side with an orthodox system of play often dwelling upon wing play.

Their main strength is the ability to hold onto possession as they seek for the much needed breakthrough to the opposition goal area.

Malawi is re-organizing their house after failure to make the grade for AFCON 2019 with a care taker coach Meke Mwase in place.

Malawi has played at AFCON finals twice in 1984 and as recent as 2010.

Emmanuel Okwi closes down a Malawi opponent during an international friendly match that ended goal-less Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE
Uganda Cranes XI against Senegal at AFCON 2019 in Egypt.


Uganda Cranes’ recent form that has witnessed the CECAFA giants qualify for back to back AFCON championships in Gabon (2017) and Egypt (2019) is self-manifestation that the gap between the big boys of African football and the so-called mediocre group has further bridged up.

Uganda is best known for the teamwork spirit, defensive discipline with arguably the best goalkeeper on the continent at the moment (Denis Onyango), and physicality component as well the traditional thriving on the flanks.

At the moment, Uganda is yet to appoint a permanent coach who will handle the qualifiers but Abdallah Mubiru and Charles Livingstone Mbabazi were appointed on interim basis to steer the country through the CHAN 2020 qualification campaign.

South Sudan Team
Seychelles XI

South Sudan & Seychelles:

South Sudan and Islanders Seychelles remain one of the developing countries in Africa and world’s football generally.

From building the key structures in place upon which the pillars of these countries football core values stem, these two countries seek for their maiden appearance at any AFCON Championship.

Both South Sudan and Seychelles have never qualified for the AFCON finals.

Other groups:

Two West Africans Mali and Guinea, Namibia and the winner between Liberia or Chad will play in group A.

Group C has Ghana, South Africa, CECAFA member Sudan and the winner between Mauritius or Sao Tome e Principe.

Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Angola and either Djibouti or The Gambia are in group D.

Group E has Morocco, Central African Republic as well as two 2019 AFCON debutants Burundi and Mauritania.

Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, CECAFA country Rwanda and Mozambique make up group F.

Record AFCON winners Egypt, Kenya, Togo and the Comoros Islands are all in group G.

In group H, newly crowned African champions Algeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana will vey for the two available qualification slots.

Senegal, Congo, Guinea Bissau and Eswatini are in group I.

Group J has CECAFA region country Tanzania, Tunisia, Libya and Equatorial Guinea.

Cote D’Ivoire, Niger, Madagascar and horn of Africa country Ethiopia make up group K.

Mode of play:

Initially, there are four matches that kick off from the preliminary round and the respective winners after a home and away basis will be placed in groups A to D.

For the group stages in the qualifiers, the top two placed countries per group (A to L) will make it to AFCON 2021 in Cameroon.

Full Groups:

  • A: Mali, Guinea, Namibia, Liberia Or Chad
  • B: Burkina Faso, Uganda, Malawi, South Sudan Or Seychelles
  • C: Ghana, South Africa, Sudan, Mauritius Or Sao Tome e Principe
  • D: Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Angola, Djibouti Or The Gambia
  • E: Morocco, Mauritania, Central African Republic, Burundi
  • F: Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Rwanda, Mozambique
  • G: Egypt, Kenya, Togo, Comoros Islands,
  • H: Algeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana
  • I: Senegal, Congo, Guinea Bissau, Eswatini
  • J: Tunisia, Libya, Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania
  • K: Cote D’Ivoire, Niger, Madagascar, Ethiopia
  • L: Nigeria, Benin, Sierra Leone, Lesotho

Preliminary Round:

  • Liberia Vs Chad – Winner will remain in A4
  • South Sudan Vs Seychelles – Winner will remain in B4
  • Mauritius Vs Sao Tome e Principe – Winner will remain in C4
  • Djibouti Vs The Gambia – Winner will remain in D4

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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