The battle lines for the 2018 Total Women's Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) have been drawn, with host Ghana pitted in Group A, against Algeria, Mali and Cameroon.
Group B has Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Kenya.
Ghana’s Black Queens will play the opening game against Algeria at the Accra Stadium on November 17.
With the entire Black Queens squad in attendance, there was little reaction, particularly from the team, as Ghana legends, Memunatu Sulemana and Adjoa Bayor, who assisted in the draw, picked out the teams for the continental showpiece.
The outcome of the draw sets up several repeat or revenge encounters in both groups, as the teams will renew their rivalries.
Indeed, Ghana comes face to face with Algeria, the team that caused their elimination from the 2012 tournament in Namibia, and then play against Cameroon, the side they met in the semi-finals of the 2016 event Cameroon hosted.
Coach Bashir Hayford, who led the Queens to attend the draw as guests, described Group A as “strong and competitive” but said his team would be ready for the challenge.
Although the draw was brief, the dignitaries who graced it emphasised its importance to the 2018 competition, which is the 11th edition and the first to be staged in Ghana.
The President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Ahmad Ahmad, led the entire Executive Committee of the continental body to the draw, with Ghana’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Isaac Kwame Asiamah, the Chairman of the Normalisation Committee of the GFA, Dr Kofi Amoah as well as the Local Organising Committee Chairperson, Madam Freda Prempeh, and the entire group among the dignitaries in attendance.
The event also brought together many members of the 1998 Black Queens squad that finished runners-up to Nigeria’s Super Falcons at the inaugural tournament in Abeokuta, Nigeria 20 years ago.