Stars out for Afcon draw

LUANDA - Pop stars, politicians and a president are among those expected to attend the Africa Cup of Nations draw being staged by tournament hosts Angola here tomorrow.

LUANDA - Pop stars, politicians and a president are among those expected to attend the Africa Cup of Nations draw being staged by tournament hosts Angola here tomorrow.

The event, which will feature Congolese legend Papa Wemba and top Angolan artists, is being held at a brand-new convention centre in the purpose-built southern suburb of Talatona.

African Football Confederation (CAF) president Issa Hayatou and members of his executive committee can also expect a rare public appearance from President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos.

Representatives from the 16 qualifiers for the January 10 to 31 tournament will also be present to witness a split into four groups from which the winners and runners-up will advance to the quarterfinals.

Portuguese Manuel Jose, coach of the host nation, said he did not mind who the Palancas Negras (Black Antelopes) come up against in the first round.

"I don't have any preference," he told reporters after a training session ahead of a friendly against Ghana yesterday. "I would be lying if I said I didn't want easier teams, but it's dangerous to think that way."

The charismatic former coach of Egyptian giants Al-Ahly took over Angola in June after they failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup and suffered a string of friendly defeats.

"When we know the teams in our group, we will be analysing them as much as possible," said Jose.

Real Valladolid striker Manucho Goncalves was dropped from the squad for friendlies against Congo and Ghana after arriving late for training in Portugal.

Jose publicly blasted the former Manchester United player, saying he needed to learn respect.

Manucho apologised through the Angolan state media, claiming he was delayed by visa problems, but Jose said this was not good enough.

The 15 teams who have qualified to play in Angola are Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, defending champions Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Togo, Tunisia and Zambia. - Sapa-AFP

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