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Date: 24 July 2017

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News Headlines

Ivory Coast finally name AFCON squad

[Posted 06 Jan 2012]
[By Beezsports Editor]
Ivory Coast finally name AFCON squad

A provisional squad of 25 players for the Africa Cup of Nations due to kick-off in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon on 21 January was announced by Ivory Coast coach Francois Zahoui on Thursday.

The squad that includes CAF Footballer of the Year Yaya Toure of Barclays English Premier Soccer League log leaders Manchester City, will be trimmed to 23 players as required by CAF after the Abu Dhabi camp due to begin at the end of this weekend.

Zahoui has included four goalkeepers among the all foreign-based players who are in the squad, and one of those keepers will surely be sacrificed when the team is trimmed at the end of the two week training camp in Asia's economic hub.

Regular stars, including six world-class players who ply their trade in the English premiership are part of the team.

There is really no doubting the class of players like the Chelsea duo of Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, Yaya and Kolo Toure of Manchester City, Gervinho of Arsenal and utility Newcastle player Cheick Tiote. Any of these players can walk into any team of world stars any day.

Many Elephants' fans will wonder if this mega-star tag does not weigh too heavily on the shoulders of the players and cause them to lose concentration and end up with disappointment at the end of each major tournament.

The above concern has been echoed by the Elephant's coach, who does not seem to be happy with what he thinks is an element of complacency which affects Ivory Coast's chances of lifting silverware when they are clearly the favourites going into the Afcon.

"In Ivory Coast we've got a big problem - we don't respect our opponents", mourns Zahoui.

"When we go to a Cup of Nations people say 'oh no, this team aren't there, this team aren't there' and each time people are disappointed because we go as the super-favourite and then come back disappointed."

With the absence of other serious title challengers such as Cameroon, Nigeria and Egypt, Ivory Coast have once again worn the super-favourite tag prior to the tournament and understandly, that worries their coach.

Yaya Toure is on record expressing his desire to lift the Afcon title, and his team mates surely share his dream. But they have other teams like Ghana and the in-form Senegal to contend with if they meet them along the way or in the final.

“Winning this accolade (CAF Footballer of the Year) is great, but it’s just an individual honour. I’d be happier if we could win the 2012 Afcon,” Toure told Ivorian Press Agency (AIP) after he was crowned Africa's best player for 2011.

The younger Toure is however aware that winning the African crown in 2012 will not be a walk in the park for his nation.

"It’s going to be difficult, not as many people feel that we, the Elephants, will easily annex next year’s showpiece. African football is progressing fast. The qualification of debutants Botswana and Niger should tell you there is no work over team,” Toure said.

Ivory Coast's provisional Afcon squad for the Abu Dhabi camp

Goalkeepers: Barry Boubacar (Lokeren, Belgium), Gerrard Gnanahouan (Avranches, France), Daniel Yeboah (Dijon, France), Ibrahim Kone (US Boulogne, France)

Defenders: Siake Tiene (Paris St Germain, France), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart, Germany), Benjamin Angoua Brou (Valenciennes, France), Igor Lolo (FC Kuban Krasnodar, Russia), Didier Zokora (Trabzonspor, Turkey), Emmanuel Eboue (Galatasaray, Turkey), Kolo Toure (Manchester City, England), Souleymane Bamba (Leicester City, England)

Midfielders: Kafoumba Coulibaly (Nice, France), Jean-Jacques Gosso Gosso (Orduspor, Turkey), Didier Ya Konan (Hannover, Germany), Cheick Tiote (Newcastle United, England), Max Gradel (St Etienne, France), Yaya Toure (Manchester City, England), Marco Taddei Ne (Tavria Simferopol, Ukraine)

Forwards: Gervinho (Arsenal, England), Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Didier Drogba (Chelsea, England), Salomon Kalou (Chelsea, England), Wilfried Boni (Vitesse Arnhem, Netherlands), Abdul Kader Keita (Al Sadd, Qatar).

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