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Algeria to begin Cup of Nations title defence by hosting Zambia

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Algeria will begin their Africa Cup of Nations title defence at home to former champions Zambia during November, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed Monday.

The Desert Foxes will also visit Botswana between November 11 and 19, giving the defending champions a realistic chance to collect a maximum six points from the two matches.

Algeria'
Algeria’s forward Riyad Mahrez and his teammates celebrate with the trophy after winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Final football match between Senegal and Algeria at the Cairo International Stadium in Cairo on July 19, 2019. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

Zimbabwe complete Group H and the top two finishers after each nation plays the other three at home and away qualifies for the 2021 tournament in Cameroon.

Zambia have struggled in the Cup of Nations since a shock 2012 final victory over the Ivory Coast after a penalty shootout in Libreville.

Africa Cup of Nations: Empty stadiums mar Egypt 2019(Opens in a new browser tab)

In the four subsequent editions, the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets) made two first round exits and did not even qualify for the last two tournaments.

Botswana took just one point from a possible 18 in 2019 Cup of Nations qualifiers and were 107 places below Algeria in the July world rankings.

Riyad Mahrez-captained Algeria became African champions a second time by beating Senegal 1-0 in the final in Cairo this month thanks to a second-minute goal from Baghdad Bounedjah.

Fixtures

Preliminary round

Liberia v Chad, South Sudan v Seychelles, Mauritius v Sao Tome e Principe, Djibouti v Gambia

First, second legs: Oct 7-15

Groups

Matchday 1 (Nov 11-19)

A: Mali v Guinea, Namibia v Liberia/Chad; B: Burkina Faso v Uganda, Malawi v S. Sudan/Seychelles; C: Ghana v South Africa, Sudan v Mauritius/S. Tome; D: Democratic Republic of Congo v Gabon, Angola v Djibouti/Gambia; E: Morocco v Mauritania, Central Africa Republic v Burundi; F: Cameroon v Cape Verde, Mozambique v Rwanda; G: Egypt v Kenya, Togo v Comoros; H: Algeria (holders) v Zambia, Zimbabwe v Botswana; I: Senegal v Congo Brazzaville, Guinea-Bissau v eSwatini (formerly Swaziland); J: Tunisia v Libya, Tanzania v Equatorial Guinea; K: Ivory Coast v Niger, Madagascar v Ethiopia; L: Nigeria v Benin, Sierra Leone v Lesotho

Matchday 2 (Nov 11-19)

A: Guinea v Namibia, Liberia/Chad v Mali; B: Uganda v Malawi, S. Sudan/Seychelles v B. Faso; C: S. Africa v Sudan, Mauritius/S. Tome v Ghana; D: Gabon v Angola, Djibouti/Gambia v DR Congo; E: Mauritania v C.A.R., Burundi v Morocco; F: C. Verde v Mozambique, Rwanda v Cameroon; G: Kenya v Togo, Comoros v Egypt; H: Zambia v Zimbabwe, Botswana v Algeria; I: Congo v G. Bissau, eSwatini v Senegal; J: Libya v Tanzania, E. Guinea v Tunisia; K: Niger v Madagascar, Ethiopia v I. Coast; L: Benin v S. Leone, Lesotho v Nigeria

Matchday 3 (Aug 31-Sept 8 2020)

A: Mali v Namibia, Guinea v Liberia/Chad; B: B. Faso v Malawi, Uganda v S. Sudan/Seychelles; C: Ghana v Sudan, S. Africa v Mauritius/S. Tome; D: DR Congo v Angola, Gabon v Djibouti/Gambia; E: Morocco v C.A.R., Mauritania v Burundi; F: Cameroon v Mozambique, C. Verde v Rwanda; G: Egypt v Togo, Kenya v Comoros; H: Algeria v Zimbabwe, Zambia v Botswana; I: Senegal v G. Bissau, Congo v eSwatini; J: Tunisia v Tanzania, Libya v E. Guinea; K: I. Coast v Madagascar, Niger v Ethiopia; L: Nigeria v S. Leone, Benin v Lesotho

Matchday 4 (Aug 31-Sept 8)

A: Namibia v Mali, Liberia/Chad v Guinea; B: Malawi v Burkina Faso, South Sudan/Seychelles v Uganda; C: Sudan v Ghana, Mauritius/S. Tome v S. Africa; D: Angola v DR Congo, Djibouti/Gambia v Gabon; E: C.A.R. v Morocco, Burundi v Mauritania; F: Mozambique v Cameroon, Rwanda v C. Verde; G: Togo v Egypt, Comoros v Kenya; H: Zimbabwe v Algeria, Botswana v Zambia; I: G. Bissau v Senegal, eSwatini v Congo; J: Tanzania v Tunisia, E. Guinea v Libya; K: Madagascar v I. Coast, Ethiopia v Niger; L: S. Leone v Nigeria, Lesotho v Benin

Matchday 5 (Oct 5-13)

A: Guinea v Mali, Liberia/Chad v Namibia; B: Uganda v B. Faso, S. Sudan/Seychelles v Malawi; C: S. Africa v Ghana, Mauritius/S. Tome v Sudan; D: Gabon v DR Congo, Djibouti/Gambia v Angola; E: Mauritania v Morocco, Burundi v C.A.R.; F: C. Verde v Cameroon, Rwanda v Mozambique; G: Kenya v Egypt, Comoros v Togo; H: Zambia v Algeria, Botswana v Zimbabwe; I: Congo v Senegal, eSwatini v G. Bissau; J: Libya v Tunisia, E. Guinea v Tanzania; K: Niger v I. Coast, Ethiopia v Madagascar; L: Benin v Nigeria, Lesotho v S. Leone

Matchday 6 (Nov 9-17)

A: Namibia v Guinea, Mali v Liberia/Chad; B: Malawi v Uganda, B. Faso v S. Sudan/Seychelles; C: Sudan v S. Africa, Ghana v Mauritius/S. Tome; D: Angola v Gabon, DR Congo v Djibouti/Gambia; E: C.A.R. v Mauritania, Morocco v Burundi; F: Mozambique v C. Verde, Cameroon v Rwanda; G: Togo v Kenya, Egypt v Comoros; H: Zimbabwe v Zambia, Algeria v Botswana; I: G. Bissau v Congo, Senegal v eSwatini; J: Tanzania v Libya, Tunisia v E. Guinea; K: Madagascar v Niger, I. Coast v Ethiopia; L: S. Leone v Benin, Nigeria v Lesotho

Note: Group winners and runners-up qualify for 2021 tournament except for Group F where hosts Cameroon qualify with the highest placed of the other three nations

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