Ghana, four-time African champions who last won the trophy in 1982, have been drawn against Morocco, Gabon and Comoros.
“Currently, every country has improved because the game is dynamic and you cannot idle around. I see it as a difficult group,” Pantsil, a former West Ham, Leicester City and Berekum Arsenal right-back told Asempa FM.
“Ghana will qualify at all costs, but we need to approach everything about it seriously. During our time we were always serious about qualifying, so I pray they maintain that discipline.
“We will have problems if we don’t get ready. Our readiness is what will take us to the next stage. The group we find ourselves in is not something to relax over.
“We cannot underestimate Gabon and Morocco, they always prove stubborn in tournaments they feature in. So we must be serious and be well prepared,” he concluded.
Paintsil will watch Ghana open their account against Morocco on January 10 before playing Gabon and Comoros respectively.