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Warriors likely group opponents revealed

Zimbabwe Warriors will play any one of these African giants – Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia and Senegal – in their group at the 2019 AFCON finals.

Zimbabwe Warriors
Zimbabwe Warriors

The Warriors will be making their fourth appearance at the tournament and hoping to qualify for the knockout stages for the first time in their history.

It will also be their second appearance at the Nations Cup finals in Egypt after the Warriors featured at the 2006 AFCON showcase in the same country.

Hosts Egypt, the record winners AFCON with seven titles, have already met the Warriors at the Nations Cup finals.

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The Pharaohs were the first opponents which the Warriors battled in their first AFCON finals match in Tunisia in 2004 in a match which Egypt won 2-1.

The Warriors have already met the Lions of Teranga twice at the AFCON finals with their first meeting coming in Egypt in 2006, which the West Africans won 2-0, before the two sides clashed in Gabon two years ago with the Senegalese winning the same scoreline.

Zimbabwe beat Ghana 2-1 in Egypt in 2006 while they lost 2-4 to Tunisia in Gabon.

The six giants are in Pot A in the draw.

The Warriors will also have to battle any of these teams – Morocco, Nigeria, Algeria, Mali, Guinea and the DRC – who are in Pot Two.

Then, the third member of the Warriors group will come from any of these teams – Mauritania, Benin, Namibia, Kenya, Madagascar and Tanzania – who are in Pot 4.

This means that the Warriors cannot battle against Bafana Bafana in the group matches and cannot face Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Burundi and Uganda in their group matches.

The 24 teams which qualified for the AFCON finals will be drawn into six groups of four teams each.

The teams in each group will then play in a single round-robin format, and after the group stage, the top two teams and the four best third teams will advance to the round of 16.

While the previous AFCON finals would see the best two teams in each group qualifying for the quarter-finals, things have changed because of the size of the tournament which has been increased to 24 teams.

The new format will now see the top teams making it through but also the best four runners-up sailing through to the second round.

The winners will advance to the quarter-finals stage, and from then on, progress to the semi-finals.

The semi-final losers will contest a third-place match, while semi-final winners will advance to the final. – Goal.com.