The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has put in motion the road to Morocco 2015 as the seeding for the potentials draws were made on Saturday, while the tournament has been extended by one day.
Defending champions, the Super Eagles of Nigeria were seeded in Pot 1 alongside Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Mali and Tunisia.
Nigeria’s route to the tournament won’t be easy because being in Pot 1, the Super Eagles are likely to face seven-time champions Egypt or Cameroon in their group when the final draw takes place on Sunday.
CAF guidelines suggest no teams in the same pot can play each other, and also the 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers will have countries divided into seven groups of four teams each.
Consequently, the seven group winners, the runners-up in each group, and the third best placed country will join hosts Morocco as automatic qualifiers.
The draw procedure sees 28 teams divided into four groups with each pot having seven teams based on CAF’s ranking of the teams.
These are the pots for the qualifiers:
Pot 1: Nigeria, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia.
Pot 2: Algeria, Angola, Cape Verde, South Africa, Egypt, Cameroon, Togo.
Pot 3: DR Congo, Gabon, Ethiopia, Niger Republic, Guinea, Senegal, Sudan
Pot 4: Teams to be decided after preliminary round of qualifiers.
The 2015 Orange CAF Africa Cup of Nations will take place in Morocco from January 17 to February 8, 2015.
The distribution of groups, and their locations, has also been announced.
Group A will be based in Marrakech, the city that will host the opening match.
Group B will be based in Agadir. Rabat will host Group C, as well as the cup final itself.
Group D will be in located in Tangier.
The final draw for Morocco 2015 will be held in Rabat on November 26.
The change in the dates means the event will be extended by one day.
It has come about because, unlike in previous Africa Cup of Nations where both semi-finals have been played on the same date, the organising committee has decided to split the two matches in Morocco.
They will now be played on February 4 and February 5.
There will only be one fixture on the opening day in Marrakech – the first match of Group A. The second fixture of Group A will be played on January 18. Two Group B matches will also be played on January 18.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria are the reigning African champions after beating Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final last year in South Africa.