Cameroon and Ivory Coast were drawn in the same World Cup qualifying group on Tuesday, meaning one of the African soccer powers won’t make the 2022 tournament in Qatar.
Mohamed Salah’s Egypt will face Gabon and star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang, along with Libya and Angola in Group F.
Sadio Mane’s Senegal, the top-ranked team in Africa, is up against Republic of Congo, Namibia and Togo in Group H.
That’s a relatively good draw for both Egypt and Senegal, with no obvious threats to them progressing to the final stage of qualifying for Qatar.
In Group E, Kenya was drawn with Mali, Uganda, and Rwanda. That makes three East African nations against the Group top seed Mali. If Mali fails to top the group, it means an East African country will be in the running for the final knockout stage.
African champion Algeria is in Group A with Burkina Faso, Niger and Djibouti and hopes its Riyad Mahrez-inspired continental title last year in Egypt can spur it on to the World Cup. Algeria has only qualified for two World Cups since 1986 and its last was in Brazil in 2014.
The first group games are in October and the winners of the 10 groups will be drawn into two-legged playoffs to decide the final five African teams at the World Cup.
Egypt and Senegal both qualified for the last World Cup in Russia and will be looking to repeat. Both Cameroon and Ivory Coast missed out and are up against each other in Group D, which also contains Mozambique and Malawi.
Nigeria was drawn with Cape Verde, Central African Republic and Liberia in Group C as it tries to reach a fourth straight World Cup and eighth overall.
Tunisia is top-seeded in Group B and up against Zambia, Mauritania and Equatorial Guinea. Morocco is the favorite in Group I but will face a challenge from Naby Keita’s Guinea. Guinea-Bissau and Sudan are the other teams in that group.
Ghana and South Africa are likely to fight for to spot in Group G, which also includes Zimbabwe and Ethiopia.
Group J consists of Congo, Benin, Madagascar and Tanzania.