Mauritius, Eswatini learn 2025 AFCON qualification opponents

Barely a week after the conclusion of the Africa Cup of Nations finals in the Ivory Coast, the draw for the preliminary round of qualifiers for the next tournament in Morocco was conducted in Cairo on Tuesday.

The bottom eight ranked team have been drawn into four two-legged knockout ties to be played between March 20-26.

Somalia were the lowest ranked team and drawn against COSAFA side Eswatini, while Sao Tome e Principe take on South Sudan.

The other two fixtures are between Chad and COSAFA nation Mauritius, while Djibouti play against Liberia.

Both Liberia and Mauritius have previously qualified for the Cup of Nations finals.

The winners of the four preliminary round ties advance to the group stage of the qualifiers, joining 44 other countries.

The 48 teams will be drawn into 12 groups of four with the top two finishers in each group qualifying for next year’s finals in Morocco.

Morocco will also participate despite qualifying automatically, so only one other country will qualify from their group.

The date for the group phase draw is yet to be announced by the Confederation of African Football, nor the date for the finals of the Cup of Nations which Morocco want to play in mid-2025 but that will clash with the newly expanded Club World Cup in the U.S.

The qualifiers for the Cup of Nations finals will be completed by the end of the year. They are being played in the three international windows in September, October and November with two rounds of matches in each window.