Holders Egypt begin defence against Nigeria

Holders Egypt will begin their defence against the Super Eagles of Nigeria in a Group C opener on January 12 in the Western Angolan province of Benguela. Benin and Mozambique will face-off in the other Group C encounter. The Pharaohs, seeking to complete a hat-trick of titles after successes in 2006 and 2008, will be expected to channel all their efforts on the biennial championship after missing out narrowly on a ticket to the first ever Mundial to be staged on African soil. Having been paired in a group with two-time winners Nigeria, Mozambique and Benin; Egypt will be hoping to appease their fans with a splendid performance at the biennial event, a competition their record is unmatched. After guiding the Super Eagles to the South Africa 2010 World Cup, Coach Shuaibu Amodu is hoping to guide his side to a superb outing at the 27th edition of the continental showpiece soccer event. For Amodu preparation, will serve the tonic for their progress at the competition. �It�s not an easy group especially with the defending champions around. We will be going back home and prepare feverishly for the Africa Cup of Nations in January.� Benin failed to advance past the group phase during the last edition in 2008, but Football Federation President, Anjorin Mousharafou is optimistic they can improve upon that in Angola 2010. �I�m happy with the draw. Our fear was being drawn against hosts Angola and it came to pass. We played against them during the qualifiers and they are a strong side. �To reach this level is no mean feat. Nigeria is not very strong, and Egypt are psychologically down after failing to reach the World Cup. We can qualify for the next round with good preparation.� For Mozambique, this is their first attempt since 1998 and fourth overall. They have failed to advance past the group stage on each occasion.