AFCON 2023

December 19, 2023

AFCON 2023 Team Guide: Ivory Coast  

AFCON 2023 Team Guide: Ivory Coast  

Coming into AFCON 2023 as the host nation and a two-time winner, Ivory Coast would have a point to prove that the Elephants can still be counted among the heavyweights in Africa, and that football in the country should not be defined by the golden generation alone. 

By Efosa Taiwo

Ivory Coast is one of the strongest footballing nations on the African continent having produced world-class talents that did go on to hold their own on the global stage.

 

The frightening era of Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Kolo Toure, Yaya Toure, Gervinho would be remembered warmly whenever the name Ivory Coast comes up in footballing discourse.

  

Coming into AFCON 2023 as the host nation and a two-time winner, the Jean Louis Gasset-led side would have a point to prove that the Elephants can still be counted among the heavyweights in Africa, and that football in the country should not be defined by the golden generation alone. 

That is something they will have to get right into when the tournament begins, with the Super Eagles of Nigeria, the Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea, and the Djurtus of Guinea Bissau standing in their way for a qualification ticket to the next round.

While the odds are in their favor to make it out of the group, they will have to negotiate where they will finish with equal favorites, the Nigerian Super Eagles. 

The Coach

Jean Louis-Gasset succeeded Patrice Beaumelle in May 2022, and has settled down to life in the West African country rather impressively.

Arriving with a rich CV, there is so much confidence in the abilities of the Frenchman to take Ivory Coast back to the zenith of African football after eight long years.

Though this will be Gasset’s first tournament with the Ivorian national team, the 68-year-old has assembled a fairly decent side in less than a year, and with his tactical ingenuity, would fancy his chances of pulling a successful outing right at home.

Star Player

Wilfried Zaha

Famed for his speed and guile down the flanks, Wilfried Zaha is one of the few players in the Ivory Coast team that sends shivers down the spine of opponents.

Scoring 90 goals in 458 appearances for Crystal Palace in England, Zaha who now plies his trade in Turkey with Galatasaray is also ruthless in front of goal and the Ivory Coast team will be banking on his boots to spearhead their attack against the rest of Africa.

Rising Star

Amad Diallo

Manchester United starlet Amad Diallo is one of the exciting talents in the Ivorian national team, and at just 21 years, has managed to amass prospects attractive to assure him a place in the Manchester United first team.

Erik ten Hag is reported to be a strong admirer of the winger who recently returned to training after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Diallo’s knack for goals and penchant to run at defenders makes him one of the sensational talents heading into AFCON 2023.

Fixtures

Ivory Coast vs Guinea Bissau – Jan 13

Ivory Coast vs Nigeria – Jan 18

Equatorial Guinea vs Ivory Coast – Jan 22

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