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Oct, 15, 2012

South Africa named in top seeds for ANC

African Nations' Cup (ANC) hosts South Africa have been named among the top seeds for next year's competition, despite being the seventh-lowest ranked team of the 16 participants.

• Blog: All eyes on SA; or are they?

The seedings mean Bafana Bafana will avoid defending champions Zambia as well as continental heavyweights Ghana and Ivory Coast in the competition, which will be played over three weeks in January and February 2013.

The four pots were decided on the day after the qualifiers were completed and a number of surprises were thrown up. The biggest upset came from Yaounde, where Cape Verde lost 2-1 to Cameroon but advanced 3-2 on aggregate.

They will now play in their first ANC, a major achievement for the island with a population of around half a million, while Cameroon miss out on the event for a second tournament in succession.

Cape Verde are seeded in the fourth pot, with some of the lower ranked teams, including Ethiopia. They earned their first ticket to the championship in 30 years when they overturned a 5-3 deficit by beating Sudan 2-0 in Addis Ababa, qualifying on the away goals rule.

The lowest-ranked team at the competition are Niger who will make their second shock appearance in the competition. They beat South Africa at home to guarantee their participation in the 2012 event and went one better when they defeated Guinea 2-0 away.

The top-ranked team in the competition are Ivory Coast, who are also Africa's best representatives in the world rankings. They beat Senegal both home and away, although the second leg of the tie had to be stopped before the match was completed because of crowd violence. Ivory Coast were up 2-0 (6-2 on aggregate) when play was abandoned.

Senegal have since said they will accept any punishment given to them by the Confederation of African Football for their supporters' showing.

Algeria are the only other team in the competition ranked in the top 25 in the world. Their attendance came at the expense of Libya, who may well feel hard done by. They would have hosted the tournament if not for the revolution in their country and would not have had to qualify as a result. Instead, they will host the 2017 edition.

Angola, Morocco and Burkina Faso were the other teams who came from behind to snatch spots at the tournament. Manucho's two goals ensured Angola beat Zimbabwe 2-0 to deny the Warriors a trip to their neighbours. Morocco also made light work of a South African neighbour. They beat Mozambique 4-0 under new coach Rachid Taoussi while Burkina Faso ended a fairytale run for the Central African Republic (CAR). CAR have never appeared at the ANC and were leading 1-0 but the Burkinabe ended their hopes with a 3-1 win at home.

While countries on the continent have been in a scrap to qualify, South Africa were in Poland playing an international friendly. They lost 1-0 but have a chance to redeem themselves against Kenya on Tuesday. The draw for the tournament will take place next Wednesday in Durban.

ANC seedings with world rankings in brackets:
Pot 1: South Africa (76), Zambia (41), Ghana (31), Ivory Coast (16)
Pot 2: Mali (27), Tunisia (45), Angola (83), Nigeria (63)
Pot 3:Algeria (24), Burkina Faso (91), Morocco (75), Niger (137)
Pot 4:Togo (93), Cape Verde (51), DRC (103), Ethiopia (118)

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