BBC Sport Africa

Holders Algeria have drawn former winners Ivory Coast in the group stage of the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon next year.

At a star-studded ceremony in Yaounde on Tuesday, Algeria were drawn in Group E where they will also face Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea.

The tournament, which features 24 teams and runs from 9 January to 6 February, will see the winners and runners-up in each of the six groups, plus the best four third-placed teams, reach the knockout phase.

A host of dignitaries attended the draw, including Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Patrice Motsepe, Cameroon legend Roger Milla and icons such as Didier Drogba, El Hadji Diouf and Samuel Eto’o.

In other draw highlights, Arsenal team-mates Thomas Partey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will meet in Group C after Partey’s Ghana drew Aubameyang’s Gabon. Debutants Comoros make up the group alongside top seeds Morocco.

The other tournament debutants, Gambia, will play in Group F alongside Tunisia, Mali and Mauritania.

Nigeria – three-time winners of the competition – have a tough test in Group D where they will face Mohamed Salah’s Egypt, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau.

Sadio Mane’s Senegal, who suffered the heartbreak of losing the 2019 final to Algeria, will take on Zimbabwe, Guinea and Malawi in Group B.

Hosts Cameroon, seeking a sixth title, were put in Group A with Ethiopia, Cape Verde and Burkina Faso, who they will face in the opening match in Yaounde.

Two stadiums in Yaounde plus newly-built or refurbished venues in Bafoussam, Douala, Garoua and Limbe will be used in the tournament.

The 2021 Nations Cup had to be postponed twice due to wet weather concerns and Covid-19 and even the draw, originally set for June, was delayed by the pandemic.

Cameroon were selected to stage the 2019 tournament, but fell behind with their preparation and Egypt had to take over at short notice.

Africa Cup of Nations draw:

  • Group A: Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde
  • Group B: Senegal, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Malawi
  • Group C: Morocco, Ghana, Comoros, Gabon
  • Group D: Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau
  • Group E: Algeria, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast
  • Group F: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia