Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund has welcomed the 2014 CHAN draw, which will pit his side against neighbours Mozambique, Mali and Nigeria.
The Chan tournament is an event for locally-based players only, and will take place in South Africa from 11 January to 1 February next year.
Reacting to the draw conducted in Cairo, Egypt earlier today (Wednesday, 18 September 2013), the Bafana Bafana mentor said there were no easy teams as all teams had qualified for the January/February tournament on merit.
“It is a tough draw, probably the toughest of the four groups but I welcome it. We are playing at home and that should galvanise us to do well. We could have drawn anyone and it could still have been tough because there are no easy matches any more in international competition. We are going to need all our best players so we can do well in this event,” said Igesund.
South Africa opens the account against neighbours Mozambique on 11 January 2014, followed by a clash with Mali four days later (15 January) and completes the group stages against Nigeria on 19 January.
“On paper this is a Group of Death but there was never going to be easy teams. It will also give the boys a massive boost should they qualify for the next stage having accounted for some of the big names in the early stages. So yes, it is a tough draw but I more than welcome it,” he said.
The draw ceremony was graced by CAF President Issa Hayatou and members of the CAF Executive Committee and Chairman of the Organising Committee, Almamy Kabele.
Also in attendance were SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani, Vice Presidents Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, (who is also Board Chairman of the Local Organising Committee), Dr Danny Jordaan and Mr Mandla Mazibuko.
Mvuzo Mbebe, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the LOC and Dr Molefi Oliphant, who is a board member, were also at the event.
There will be 32 matches played in 16 match days with Cape Town hosting two quarterfinal games and the other two in Mangaung and Polokwane.
The semi finals will both take place in Mangaung whilst Cape Town will host the final and the third-place matches.
CHAN 2014 Draw:
GROUP A: South Africa, Mozambique, Nigeria, Mali
GROUP B: Zimbabwe, Morocco, Burkina Faso, Uganda
GROUP C: Ghana, Congo-Brazzaville, Ethiopia, LibyaGROUP D: DR Congo, Mauritania, Burundi, Gabon