Saidou Khan could be playing against some global superstars as The Gambia learned their African Cup of Nations group stage draw on Thursday.

Khan, who has been a part of the last two squads for the country of his birth, will be hoping to earn a call-up when his nation contests its second-ever AFCON in Ivory Coast in January.

The draw for the group stage was announced on Thursday, throwing up some exciting fixtures for the Scorpions, who are the second lowest-ranked side in the tournament according to the current FIFA World Rankings, only ahead of Tanzania.



The Gambia will take on reigning champions Senegal, five-time winners Cameroon, and Guinea, who The Gambia knocked out of the 2021 AFCON at the round-of-16 stage.

This draw will see Khan come up against some stars of the game, as Champions League winners Sadio Mane and Edouard Mendy will be turning out for Senegal alongside Premier League stars Idrissa Gueye, Cheikhou Kouyate, Pape Matar Sarr, and Nicolas Jackson.

Cameroon will be equally as tough, with Champions League finalist and Yashin Award nominee Andre Onana and Brentford’s top goal scorer Bryan Mbuemo as part of their squad. The Indomitable Lions will be hoping to make a deep run after making the semi-finals on home turf two years ago, defeating The Gambia in the quarterfinals of that tournament.

Despite defeat against The Gambia in 2021, Guinea are ranked 33 places ahead of the Scorpions in the FIFA World Rankings as only Egypt were able to get the better of them during qualifying for this tournament.

Speaking ahead of his most recent international call-up in September, Khan said: “I want to be a part of that [AFCON], and for me to be a part of that I need to perform at Swindon, so that is a huge motivation for me.

“If I can get promoted here and be part of a squad that is playing in AFCON, then that would be a big achievement for me.”

Were he to be called up to the squad in January, then Khan would become the second Swindon player in history to play in the competition, following in the footsteps of Jojo Wollacott, who started three games for Ghana two years ago.

The draw in full is:

Group A: Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau.

Group B: Egypt, Ghana, Cape Verde, Mozambique.

Group C: Senegal, Cameroon, Guinea, The Gambia.

Group D: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Angola.

Group E: Tunisia, Mali, South Africa, Namibia.

Group F: Morocco, DR Congo, Zambia, Tanzania.