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Ivorian ‘golden generation’ set for glory as 2015 AFCON ends today

By Nelson Dafe on 08/02/2015

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There are a number of things that have confounded followers of African football. One of them surely is how Ivory Coast, replete with top stars starring for great international football clubs have failed to conquer Africa by winning the Cup of Nations since the country last did so in 1992.

Every now and then, the much touted golden generation of footballers usually end up not winning the top prize of senior team football in Africa.

Didier Drogba, one of the most illustrious players to have emerged from Africa and who is at his twilight years with Chelsea FC of London, had led a number of other top quality Ivorian players like Manchester City’s Yaya Toure, ex-Tottenham Hotspurs Didier Zokora, Emmanuel Eboue (formerly of Arsenal), Arouna Dindane and Bakari Kone, among others, to the AFCON in the recent past editions where they were rated high favourites to win. But they always fell short at the final rounds. With Drogba, the team reached the African Cup final in 2006 and 2012, losing both times in a penalty shootout.

Different reasons have been adduced for this. Some cite a certain level of over confidence on the players’ part, others point to a suspected disunity in camp, while others place the blame on the distractions caused by the fractious civil war that plagued the country in the past few years.

It could well be that a combination of all of the reasons above have stymied the chances of Cote-d’Ivoire winning the nations cup with their avalanche of stars.

However, this time, coming up against an equally ambitious Ghana side in the final today, Ivorians are hoping the Herve Renard-tutored boys will finally cross the finish line and bring the AFCON trophy home for the first time since 1992 when they last won it in Dakar, Senegal.

The experienced campaigners are there to do the job. Yaya Toure has led by example, ably supported by Roma of Italy’s Gervinho, the veteran Liverpool star Kolo Toure and new Man City signing Wilfred Bony.

They have not really played greatly as a team in this tournament being hosted by Equatorial Guinea as we saw them do so tantalisingly in previous ones, but the individual sparkles have come positively at crucial moments
Take, for example, the three brilliantly-scored goals in the semi-final against Congo in a game they wouldn’t have been said to have completely dominated.

Ivorian players wouldn’t mind how they win it this time. They just want to get the job done.

But they would do well to be wary of a Ghana side coached by the experienced Avram Grant, the ex-Chelsea gaffer.

The Ghanaians are hungry and have in them the mixture of quality and resoluteness to win the Nations Cup in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, this evening. Asamoah Gyan (if certified fit enough to play) and the Ayew Brothers (Andrew and Jordan) are well capable of putting up a show that could see the cup heading to Accra this evening.

The eyes of the world of football would be fixed on these two giants of African football, and neutral observers would wish the best team to win this battle of two distinguished West African sides.

Yaya Toure doing what he knows best for Ivory Coast.

Source News Express

Posted 08/02/2015 12:56:13 PM

 

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