African Cup of Nations 2012: Ivory Coast
Intro into team
In the last 10 years The Elephants have progressed massively, qualifying for their first World Cup in 2006 and also making it to South Africa 2010. Prior to 2006, their biggest success had been winning the African Nations in 1992 but not much else.
Now they have some of the biggest names in African football and will give any team they play a tricky match.
How did they qualify?
With complete domination. They won all six games in a group containing Benin, Rwanda and Burundi scoring 19 goals and only conceding four. Second placed Rwanda finished 12 points behind them, which gives you an idea of how easy it was for the Ivory Coast.
François Zahoui replaced Sven Goran Eriksson after the 2010 World Cup and led his team to the 2012 Cup of Nations in style. Zahoui had a decent playing career in France and Italy without setting the game alight.
A former international for the Elephants, his coaching experience is limited, but promising results suggest he is more than competent.
Didier Drogba – 33 – Striker. Despite his age Drogba is still one of the most formidable strikers in the Premier League. He has 150 goals for Chelsea and 50 goals in 76 games for his country. His goals will be vital as Ivory Coast bid to win the tournament for the second time.
Yaya Toure – 28 – Midfielder. A Champions League and La Liga winner with Barcelona and an FA Cup winner with Man City, the younger Toure brother is a solid all round midfielder. He is adept at both attacking and defending and weighs in with the occasional goal. His all-round ability and versatility is crucial.
Cheick Tiote – 25 – Midfielder. Impressive since joining Newcastle from FC Twente last season Tiote has made a reputation as a tough tackling defensive midfielder who is starting to attract the envious eye of some of the Premier League’s biggest clubs. Will protect his defence admirably for the Ivory Coast.
How far can they go?
They could win it. With some big names absent this year, it could be their first tournament victory since 1992. Their group includes Sudan, Burkina Faso and Angola, so they are almost certain to progress to the quarter finals.