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2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cairo, Egypt

Draws for qualifiers of 2015 Orange Afcon set for 27 April - The draws for the qualifiers of the 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations finals will be held on 27 April, 2014, in Cairo, Egypt, the African football governing body (CAF) has said.

These were among the many resolutions passed at the recent CAF Executive meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, CAF said in a news disptach, received by PANA here Tuesday.

The qualifiers kick off with the preliminary stage, leading to the group stage which will be   split into seven groups comprising four teams each.

CAF says the top two teams in each group will get direct tickets to the 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations finals, set for 17 January- 7 February, 2015, in Morocco. They will be joined by the best-placed third finisher in the group stages and host Morocco.

The group stage of the qualifiers is set for 5 September-19 November, 2014, with the final draw being conducted on 26 November in a yet-to-be-decided city in Morocco.

CAF says out of the 51 countries that will battle it out in the qualifiers, the top 21 teams in the CAF Rankings will automatically qualify for the group stage.

This essentially means they get byes to the group stages as the others battle it out in the preliminaries.

The seven best teams in the preliminaries will join the top teams in the group stage at the conclusion of the preliminary rounds set for May-August 2014.

Nigeria is perched atop the CAF Rankings, followed by Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. Others in the top 21 in descending order are Zambia, Burkina Faso, Mali,Tunisia, Algeria, Angola, Cape Verde, Togo, Egypt, South Africa, Cameroon, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Niger, Guinea, Senegal, Sudan and hosts Morocco.

CAF says it pegs its ranking system on the performance of the teams during the last three editions of the Orange African Cup of Nations, performance during the qualifiers as well as performance at the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The meeting in Cape Town was also told that six countries - Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Zambia and DR Congo had beaten the deadline for submission of bids to host the 2019 and 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Finals.

In addition to beating the deadline for the 2019 event, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire and Algeria are also in the race for the 2021 finals.

A CAF inspection team, to inspect the bidding countries' facilities, will be named during a  CAF Executive Committee meeting in Cairo on 21 February, 2014.

The countries to host the 2019 and 2021 Orange African Cup of Nations finals will be picked at a CAF Executive Committee meeting in Cairo in September 2014.

CAF says the CAF Supercup, featuring Orange Champions League title holders and Al Ahly of Egypt and Confederations Cup champions, Tunisia's Club Sfaxien Sportif, will be played on 22 February at the Cairo International Stadium.

On the sidelines of the CAF Supercup in Cairo, CAF will hold a meeting that brings together federation presidents of the five countries that qualified for 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil - Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria and Ghana.

The meeting is geared towards giving the countries all the support they need from CAF as they carry the African flag to Brazil 2014.

CAF will on 30-31 January in Cape Town, conduct a seminar on professionalization of football in Africa and the implementation of Club Licensing System.

The seminar will bring together 37 elite African clubs, football experts and presidents of national federations.

On  20 February 2014, CAF and UEFA will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), geared towards bolstering cooperation between the two confederations.

Pana 28/01/2014