By Tony Ubani
Tournament favourites, Cote D’Ivoire have said that Nigeria cannot stand in their way of reaching the semifinal of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
The Ivorians are bidding for a third successive semifinal place at the continental football fiesta but standing in their way are the Nigerians, who they confront on Sunday at the Royal Bafikong Stadium.
Both west African nations have been involved in feisty clashes in past editions of the tournament but this weekend’s showdown in Rustenburg is of high premium to the Ivorians, who have suffered successive heartbreaks in the last four editions of the Nations Cup.
The golden generation as the Ivorians are referred to are gunning for the first title since the Ivorians last won at the 1992 edition held in Senegal, where they defeated Ghana’s Black Stars on penalties.
For the likes of captain Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue, this might be their last attempt to write their names in gold by winning the trophy but with a a confrontation against Nigeria coming so soon in the quarters, the Ivorians are living nothing to chance.
Speaking ahead of the match, Drogba, said the Ivorians have what it takes to beat Nigeria.
“We are ready for the match against the Nigerians. We would do what we have to do to get to the semifinal. Nigeria would be tough but we are confident of beating our opponent”, said Drogba.
For Manchester City midfielder, Yaya Toure, the match against the Nigerians would show their champion stuff of the Elephants.
“It is going to be an interesting and tough match. We are getting set for them and hope that the world would see the best football on the day. We are not going to underrate them because they came with some new players. For us, a match against Nigeria provides us the opportunity to show that we are champions in the making”, said Toure.
Also speaking, Arsenal forward, Gervinho, who has been in red-hot form at the tournament, said he hopes to find the back of the net against the Nigerians.
“My job as a striker is to score and this would be my objective when we play Nigeria. Goals are what make the difference between a winner and a loser. It would be difficult game but we are hopeful of a victory”, said Gervinho