CÔTE D’IVOIRE will want to show their intention early on in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations when they face Togo at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium today.
The Elephants are without a doubt the favourites to not only top Group D, that includes Togo, Algeria and Tunisia, but to win the tournament overall.
Ivorian stars Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Didier Zokora and Gervinho add to this credence of being Africa’s best team.
Coupled with the unexpected loss to Zambia at the 2012 AFCON final, and one has a team arguably more motivated than the rest.
“I must remind you that Netherlands had a side everyone said were the best for years and they never won a trophy,” Drogba said.
On the other hand, Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure shied away from favourites label bestowed upon his country.
“It’s true that we are the favourite team and when you have that status you have to take advantage of the quality and experience that you have in our team,” said the 2011 African Player of the Year.
“We know we have to do better than last year when we lost the final to a better Zambia team. We have almost the same team back again, so it’s matter of focus and determination.”
Ivory Coast’s starting line-up is no secret as Drogba, Gervinho, the Toure brothers and Zokora are regulars as opposed to Togo, of whom little is known except the inner-team strife.
Togo captain and striker Emmanuel Adebayor is without a doubt their most recognised player, and after much confusion, will participate at AFCON.
The Tottenham ace initially refused to come to South Africa amid security fears, and then was dramatically dropped before a Togo Football Association manager stepped in.
With internal wrangles a norm for the Sparrow Hawks, it appears that the Elephants will have a straightforward task.