The draw took place on Sunday, 18 September at Palais des Sports in Yaounde, Cameroon.
The players are looking forward to the African Women’s football showpiece.
“It is a very interesting draw and being grouped with the hosts is never an easy task, more so because they are one of the powerhouses of African women’s football. This time they will be stronger than ever as they will be playing every single match in front of their home supporters who are expected to come out in numbers to the stadiums,” said Van Wyk.
“Zimbabwe will be another tough side to overcome as they are still fit and strong after all the experience gained at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Although they lost by a margin of goals, they showed tremendous character to score goals, which is something we lacked. They are very direct and will come out strong to show what they have learnt in Rio. Egypt on the other hand is a very unpredictable team. We haven't played them many times but what we do know is that all these teams are all working extremely hard to get ready for this upcoming event.”
In their group, South Africa is the second highest ranked country on position 4 on the continent and 48th in the world, while the hosts are placed third on the continent (47th in the world). Egypt is on position 9 on the continent (80th in the world) with Zimbabwe coming in on the 13th spot on the continent (94th in the world).
“We have made a name for ourselves by putting up good performances against international teams as well as at the Olympics. We are also looking to improve our position from reaching fourth place in the 2014 AWCON and use the experience we got in Rio to go all the way,” added Van Wyk.
Group B has the defending champions Nigeria, with Mali, Ghana and Kenya who are making their debut.
The top two teams in each group advance to the semi-finals.
Nigeria will be making their 12th appearance in the tournament – the highest by any nation.
Hosts Cameroon, with their 11th tournament entry, same as South Africa and Ghana, closely follow them.
Mali, Zimbabwe and Egypt will be making their 6th, 4th and 2nd appearances respectively while Kenya will be playing in their first ever tournament. (Mali replaced Equatorial Guinea after they were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player).
Among all the eight nations at the 2016 event, only Nigeria has won the tournament – a record nine times.
* The Africa Women Cup of Nations (known as the African Women's Championship until 2015) is an international women's football competition
* On 6 August 2015, the CAF Executive Committee decided to change the name of the tournament from the African Women's Championship to the Africa Women Cup of Nations, similar to the men's version, Africa Cup of Nations
* It is held every two years and sanctioned by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
* It was first contested in 1991, but was not held biennially until 1998
* Nigeria is the most successful nation is the tournament's history, having won a record 9 titles
* Cameroon will host the next championship in 2016
* Mali replaced Equatorial Guinea after they were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player
* Egypt hasn’t qualified for this tournament since 1998
Cameroon (47th in the world, 3rd on the continent)
Egypt (80, 9)
South Africa (48, 4)
Zimbabwe (94, 13)
Nigeria (37th in the world, 1st on the continent)
Mali (92, 12)
Ghana (46, 2)
Kenya (132, 25)
Appearances at the tournament:
Cameroon 11th (Runners up – 1991, 2004, 2014)
Egypt 2nd (Group Stage – 1998)
Ghana 11th (Runners-up – 1998, 2002, 2006)
Kenya 1st (DEBUT)
Mali 6th (Group Stage – 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010)
Nigeria 12th (Champions – 1991, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2014)
South Africa 11th (Runners up – 1995, 2000, 2008, 2012)
Zimbabwe 4th (Fourth place – 2000)