By DEWAH Fabrice TEH
Sports writer, Kick442.com-Cameroon
The Head Coach of Ivory Coast’s senior men’s national football team has released the team’s official list of players to participate at the upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
The 28-man list made public on Thursday December 23, sees Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha returning to the Elephants’ squad the England based goal poacher having excluded himself from last months’ qualifiers to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar where Ivory Coast faced Mozambique and Cameroon in the final two fixtures.
The Ivorian tactician Patrice Beaumelle has also included in-form striker Sebastien Haller. The forward who has already spanked in 18 goals this season for Dutch giants Ajax of Amsterdam, will be looked up to, to lead the Ivorians to their third title crown in the AFCON.
Ivory Coast’s goalkeeping area will be manned in the tournament by the likes of Captain Sylvain Gbohouo. The Ethiopia based shoot stopper who played key role in the Elephants’ successful AFCON bid in 2015, will be sharing the goalkeeping zone with Badra Ali Sangare, Abdoul Karim Cisse and Etezer Ira Tape with all four goalkeepers selected from African football championships.
The West Africans will be relying on the likes of Manchester United defender Eric Bailly and former Tottenham Hotspur defensive maestro, Serge Aurier now of Villarreal, to guard the back area.
Italy based trio of Jean Daniel Akpa from Lazio, Frank Kessie of AC Milan and Hamed Junior Traore plying his trade with Sassuolo all in the Italian Serie A, will be expected to shine at the midfield.
The Elephants’ attacking compartment will be coordinated by Arsenal star, Nicolas Pepe, Anderlecht forward Christian Kouame and Karim Konate of Asec Mimosas in Ivory Coast, with the three looked up to, to man the zone alongside Zaha and Sebastien Haller.
Max Alain Gradel, who stands out as one of the most experienced member of the squad, has also been summoned and will be expected to make use of his leadership skills.
Ivory Coast will be based in Group E of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Elephants will be battling out with defending champions, Algeria, 2015 semifinalists, Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone at the Olembe Stadium in Douala in their race for a third title in Africa’s most prestigious football continent when the tournament run in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6, 2022.
Badra Ali Sangare
Elezer Ira Tape
Abdoul Karim Cisse
Habib Digbo Maiga
Jean Daniel Akpa
Jean Michel Seri
Max Alain Gradel
Jean Evrad Kouassi
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