U-23 AFCON: Black Meteors drawn in tough group

Author: Isaac Ashietey
Black Meteors squad
Black Meteors squad

Ghana’s Black Meteors have been handed a tough draw in the upcoming Total Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations slated for Egypt in November.

Coach Ibrahim Tanko's side have been pooled against hosts Egypt, Mali and Cameroun in Group A.

Group B consists of two southern African sides -- Zambia and South Africa, with Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria providing it with a west African flavour.

The Pharaohs of Egypt will battle Mali in the opening match at the Cairo International Stadium on November 8, with the final at the same venue on November 22.

The competition serves as Africa's qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games with three tickets up for grabs.

 Ghana coach Ibrahim Tanko, one of the coaches of the participating teams at the draw held at Haramlek Palace in the Egyptian city of Alexandria on Wednesday, noted that his team had been pooled in a tough group but was determined to lead them to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since the 2004 Games in Athens. 

Ibrahim Tanko (2nd right) and other coaches were at the draw

 "It’s a very tough group, maybe the group of death. If you want to win the trophy and qualify for the Olympics you have to face everything that comes your way. It’s all about preparation. We have a very good team that can beat any team that comes our way. We will prepare very well then come back to Egypt on November 8 and pull a surprise," Tanko told cafonline.com.

"All the teams are tough. Mali have recently become one of the best in Africa in youth football. Cameroon and Ghana are powerhouses in Africa. Egypt, the host nation also have a strong team. I don’t think there is a weak team in the group, and that will make the tournament very exciting."