The draw for the 2022 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers has been held in Cairo and sees a potential clash between Nigeria and Ghana for a place at the finals.
The seeding system for the tournament was based on the results of the last three editions of CHAN, meaning that Ghana and Benin were the lowest-ranked sides and will face each other in regionally-based qualifiers.
The aggregate winner of that game will face Nigeria in the final round in Western Zone B.
A total of 46 nations were entered in the draw for the expanded tournament for locally-based players which will feature 18 teams for the first time.
Earlier this week the Confederation of African Football (Caf) announced the increase in the number of teams from 16, leading to an unusual format for the finals in Algeria next year.
Caf says the finals will have five groups; three of which will have four nations, while the other two will be comprised of just three teams.
It means the top two from the four-team groups will be joined in the quarter-finals by the winners of the other two pools.
Hosts Algeria, defending champions Morocco and fellow North Africans Libya are already assured of spots at the tournament.
Zimbabwe were included in the draw for the Southern Zone qualifiers despite currently being banned from global football by Fifa and having been thrown out of Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
"In case the suspension of Zimbabwe FA is not lifted two weeks before their first match, they will be considered loser and eliminated from the competition," Caf explained.
The delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the World Cup in Qatar in November and December seem to have had a knock-on effect on the CHAN finals, which are scheduled for 8-31 January 2023.
All qualifying ties are set to be played over two legs, with the winners on aggregate progressing.
First round first leg matches will be played between 22 and 24 July with the return legs a week later.
Those zones with just a single round, and the second rounds in the remainder of zones, will be held between 26 and 28 August, with the return legs also a week later.