The Pharaohs team manager Ihab Leheta reckons it will be tough playing the two teams at the continental showpiece next year

Egypt team manager Ihab Leheta says familiarity will be their biggest challenge after drawing Ghana and Uganda for the group stage of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
The three teams, who coincidentally happen to be in the same group for the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers, were pitted against each other in Group D at Wednesday’s draw held in Libreville, Gabon.“It is the same group as in the World Cup qualifiers except Congo,” Leheta said.

“All teams in Africa now are very strong.

“We have not been participating in the last three editions and this is why we have to be in a good shape.

“It is very difficult to play the same teams [Ghana and Uganda] in the World Cup qualifiers.

“On the other side, it is a good sign as the teams will get to know each other.

“Now it will be left to the coaches.”

The Pharaohs will open the tournament against Mali at the Stade de Port-Gentil on January 17, four days before engaging Uganda.

The North Africans will then see off the group stage against Ghana on January 25, even if both teams have a preceding clash on November 13 in the World Cup qualifiers.

Hector Cuper’s charges, seven-time champions, are set to make a return to the Afcon after a seven-year absence.

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