Didier Drogba will lead an Ivory Coast team for the AFCON 2013 and will be hoping they go one step further this year. The “Elephants” lost to Zambia in the finals of the last tournament on penalties, a loss which still hurts the entire nation. That was the closest they got and the “Golden Generation” of footballers in this country are in their last few years of their careers and would love to retire with this much awaited trophy.
Ex Chelsea team mates, Drogba and Kalou have won every trophy available while playing club football for Chelsea. But a victory in this tournament will be just as dear as any of those trophies for these players.
They will be accompanied Kolo Toure,who has also won every English trophy and his brother Yaya Toure who boasts of a winners medal in EPL,La Liga,Champions League and the Club World Cup.
But this particular trophy has eluded these great footballers throughout.
“Coming to South Africa for the 2013 Cup of Nations will be special for me,” Drogba told Ivorian reporters. “We have twice come so close to winning this tournament.
“But that does not mean that we can afford to slow down and assume that if we wait long enough the title will be ours. We have learnt from our failures and we are coming this time to win the title and nothing else.”
The first round draw for the African football showpiece, which begins on January 19, ends on February 10, and offers a place at the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil to the winners, was not overly kind to the Ivorian ‘Elephants’.
They will also face off against Tunisia and Algeria in a group in which they should qualify comfortably. But it is the knockout stages where the Ivorians have come undone in recent years, and it was Algeria who stunned them 3-2 in the quarterfinals three years ago when they were fancied to go all the way.
23-man Ivory Coast Africa Cup of Nations Squad:
Goalkeepers: Boubacar Barry (Lokeren, Belgium), Badra Ali Sangare (IAFC), Daniel Yeboah (Dijon, France)
Defenders: Soulemanye Bamba (Trabzonspor, Turkey), Arthur Boka (VfB Stuttgart, Germany), Emmanuel Eboue (Galatasaray, Turkey), Igor Lolo (Kuban Krasnodar, Russia), Siaka Tiene (Paris St Germain, France), Kolo Toure (Manchester City, England), Ismael Traore (Stade Brest, France)
Midfielders: Max Gradel (St Etienne, France), Abdul Razak (Manchester City, England), Romaric (Real Zaragoza, Spain), Didier Ya Konan (Hannover 96, Germany), Cheick Tiote (Newcastle United, England), Yaya Toure (Manchester City, England), Didier Zokora (Trabzonspor, Turkey).
Forwards: Wilfried Bony (Vitesse Arnhem, Netherlands), Didier Drogba (Shanghai Shenhua, China), Gervinho (Arsenal, England), Salomon Kalou (OSC Lille, France), Arouna Kone (Wigan Athletic, England), Lacina Traore (Anzhi Makhachkala, Russia).