Coaches have say on AFCON draw
Coaches were satisfied with the CAF Africa Cup of Nations draw, with hosts South Africa seeing Morocco as their toughest opponents and Côte d'Ivoire, Tunisia, and Algeria placed in what is looking like the toughest section.
"All the draws were tough and I think this is a fairly good draw for us," said South Africa coach Gordon Igesund. "It was touch and go because it was either going to be Nigeria or Angola," he said, relieved that of two remaining countries to be allocated, Angola fell in Group A with the hosts and Nigeria in Group C with Zambia at the Chief Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.
Igesund remained wary of Morocco. "I think Morocco are the giants in Africa," he said.
Moroccan trainer Rachid Taoussi was happy his team missed some of the tournament's favourites, but would be careful of other contenders, he said. "It's a good group. It's hard, since South Africa is the host country and has home support."
"Of course, defending champions Zambia are very good and so are our other opponents, Ethiopia," he added.
The Ivorians will have to finish above Tunisia, Algeria and Togo to win their group. "It's undeniably the most difficult group," said coach Sabri Lamouchi.
But his confidence remained firm, though the team has only taken home the title once before, in 1992. "Ivory Coast are the favourite. We were favourites before the draw, and still are after it. We will have to prove it on the field," said Lamouchi.
Defending champions Zambia, who lifted the trophy against all odds this year, would prove their mettle once again, according to coach Herve Renard. "We are confident. We are here to make history. We did it in 2012. No one was able to say Zambia will win in 2012," he said. "We stayed a small team but we managed to go very far."