African champions Algeria will begin their bid for a place at the 2022 World Cup against tiny Djibouti in October after the draw was made for the qualifying group stage in Cairo on Tuesday.
Only the top team in each of the 10 pools advance to the final knockout stages, where they will play home and away for a place in Qatar, and Algeria will be confident of advancing from Group A that also contains Burkina Faso and Niger.
Senegal also have a favorable draw in Group H along with Congo-Brazzaville, Namibia and Togo, the latter a shadow of the side that qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Nigeria are in Group C along with Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic and Liberia, which should cause few alarms.
One of Cameroon and Ivory Coast will be eliminated at this stage after they were drawn together in Group D along with Mozambique and Malawi.
Ghana and South Africa headline Group G, having also been paired together in the qualifiers for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, so will be regular combatants over the next 18 months. They must also face Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, who are both tricky opponents.
North African powerhouse Tunisia are in Group B with Zambia, Mauritania and Equatorial Guinea, while Egypt have been handed a difficult road in a pool with Gabon, Libya and Angola.
The qualifiers will get under way in October, with the pool stage completed 12 months later.
The 10 group winners will then face-off in November 2021, with the five victors of those knockout matches sealing a place at the World Cup.
(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)