Ghana will face Guinea in the opening match of Africa's biggest soccer fiesta, CAN 2008, at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra on January 20, 2008.
After the draw, which was held at the Accra International Conference Center yesterday, hosts Ghana were put alongside Guinea, Namibia and Morocco in Group A.
Ghanaians greeted the news with joy, as the expectation of everybody was that with home support and players such as Michael Essien, Stephen Appiah, Sulley Ali Muntari, John Mensah and Haminu Draminu, Ghana's senior national soccer team, the Black Stars would have no problem sailing into the knock out stages of the competition.
Group B, however, was named by most soccer pundits as the 'group of death' with Nigeria, Cote D'Ivoire, Mali and Benin constituting the group.
They will be based at Sekondi in the Western Region, with the opening match of the group taking place on January 21, 2008 between Nigeria and Cote D'Ivoire.
Defending Champions Egypt, in Group C, will play their first round matches in the Garden City of Kumasi against Cameroun, Sudan and Zambia. The Egyptians will square it off with Cameroun at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in the opening match of the group on January 22, 2008.
In Group D, Tunisia, Senegal, South Africa and Angola will battle for the two second round slots to the quarterfinal, with the group's first match taking place on January 23 between Tunisia and Senegal.
The high-profile event started at exactly 3.00pm after the President of the Republic of Ghana, Mr J.A. Kufuor; Confederation of African Football (CAF) president, Issa Hayatou; and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the CAN 2008, Dr. Kofi Amoah, had been ushered into the room by women resplendently dressed in kente cloths.
With MCs Yaw Ampofo-Ankrah, a renowned sports journalist, and Michelle Attoh, an actress, lightening up the evening, the event was described as very successful.
Delegates all over Africa, including CAF and national FA officials, ministers of state, as well as sports journalists were treated to some scintillating cultural and dance performances before the draw.
Also present at the ceremony was Danny Jordaan, Chief Executive of the LOC of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
See fixtures on page 15
By Mohammed Muniru Kassim