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Warriors handed tough 2019 Afcon draw


ZIMBABWE’s quest to make a quick return to the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals looks hard after the Warriors were on Thursday night handed what appears a tough qualification draw for the 2019 tournament to be played in Cameroon.



Kalisto Pasuwa’s men were thrown into Group G, together with the continent’s sixth-ranked side Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Congo Brazzaville, ranked 17th, and Liberia on 28th, in a qualifying draw conducted in Libreville, Gabon.

Zimbabwe are the lowest-ranked team in the group, at number 31 in Africa, according to statistics released by Fifa on Thursday.

Only group winners and the best three runners-up qualify for the tournament, with hosts Cameroon.

While statistics from previous meetings with the three opponents give Zimbabwe a chance of qualifying, recent performances by the group members favour DRC to go through.

The team in the group that the Warriors have managed to beat before is Liberia. The two nations have met just twice before — in the 2010 Afcon qualifiers, with the Warriors forcing a 1-1 draw away before winning the reverse fixture 3-0 in Harare.

The team, coached by Norman Mapeza, missed on the ticket to the Afcon finals.

Zimbabwe have played twice against Congo in competitive matches in the 1992 Afcon qualifiers, where they were held to a 2-2 draw at home before losing the return leg 2-0.

Matters are even in the matches the Warriors have played against the DRC, winning two and losing as many in the 1996 and 2002 Afcon qualifiers.

The group stage of qualifying starts in June and concludes in November 2018.

Zimbabwe will be hoping to make it to their second Afcon finals in a row, following their qualification for the Gabon finals, which kick off in Libreville today.

They qualified by topping their group, which had Guinea, Malawi and Swaziland.

2019 Afcon Draw in full
Group A:
Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Sao Tome or Madagascar
Group B:
Cameroon, Morocco, Malawi, Comoros or Mauritius
Group C:
Mali, Gabon, Burundi, Djibouti or South Sudan
Group D:
Algeria, Togo, Benin, Gambia
Group E: Nigeria, South Africa, Libya, Seychelles
Group F:
Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sierra Leone
Group G:
Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Zimbabwe, Liberia
Group H:
Ivory Coast, Guinea, Central African Republic, Rwanda
Group I:
Burkina Faso, Angola, Botswana, Mauritania
Group J:
Tunisia, Egypt, Niger, Swaziland
Group K:
Zambia, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Namibia
Group L:
Cape Verde, Uganda, Tanzania, Lesotho

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