AFCON 2023 Qualifiers: CAF explains draw procedure
Nigeria, who finished in third place at the 2019 finals in Egypt and reached the Round of 16 at this year’s championship in Cameroon, is among the 12 teams in Pot 1 – the teams that will head the 12 qualification groups. These teams as explained by CAF will then be drawn into 12 groups of four teams (Group A to L) with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the tournament to be played in the West African country.
Consequently, their groups will be composed of three teams with the first and runner-up teams of those groups qualifying for the final tournament.
The procedure will be repeated for the remaining teams of Pot 4 who will go to positions B4, C4, D4, E4, F4, G4, H4, I4, J4, K4 & L4 according to the draw order.
Being in the same pot guarantees that none of these teams can be in the same group during the qualification campaign that will last between June 2022 and March 2023.
Hosts Cote d’Ivoire will also participate in the draw even though they have already secured their place in the tournament which means only one other team from their group will qualify for the competition.
Kenya and Zimbabwe, who have been suspended by FIFA from all football activities globally, will also be included in the draw despite their temporary bans.
However, CAF noted that if the suspension is not lifted two weeks before their first matchday of the qualifiers, both associations will be considered losers and eliminated from the competition. As a result of that decision, Kenya and Zimbabwe cannot be drawn in the same group to avoid having one group with only two teams in case the suspension on both associations is not lifted.
The same procedure as above will be repeated for Pot 3, Pot 2, and finally Pot 1.