Draw pairs Zambia, Nigeria in South Africa
© AFP

Defending champions Zambia will face two-time winners Nigeria in the group stage of next year's CAF African Cup of Nations after the draw was made in Durban this evening.

Zambia stunned their more fancied rivals to be crowned African champions for the first time earlier this year, but will face a stern test to progress from a tough-looking group when they begin their defence in South Africa next January. A resurgent Nigeria, who failed to reach the finals earlier this year, will pose the most significant threat in Group C alongside Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.

Hosts South Africa will open the tournament against debutants Cape Verde in Johannesburg on 19 January. Cape Verde upset Cameroon 3-2 on aggregate to reach the finals and will also face Morocco and Angola in Group A.

One of the tournament favourites, Côte d'Ivoire, were handed arguably the toughest path to the knockout stage after they were drawn in Group D with Togo and north-African duo Algeria and Tunisia. Four-time champions Ghana will aim to end their 31-year wait to win the tournament in Group B alongside DR Congo, Niger and Mali.

The tournament will run from 19 January until 10 February and will be hosted in five of the stadia used at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ - in the cities of Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Nelspruit and Rustenburg.

CAF African Nations Cup draw:
Group A - South Africa, Cape Verde, Morocco, Angola.
Group B - Ghana, DR Congo, Niger, Mali.
Group C - Zambia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Nigeria.
Group D - Ivory Coast, Algeria, Tunisia, Togo.