Wilfried Zaha of Ivory Coast challenged by Djene Ortega of Togo during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Ivory Coast and Togo at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 16 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Wednesday Nov 08, 2017. 13:30
We look at the players to watch ahead of this weekend’s round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Today’s focus is on Group C: Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon, Algeria.
Group C fixtures
Saturday 11 November
Gabon v Mali – Stade de Franceville, Franceville – 16h30
Ivory Coast v Morocco – Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Abidjan – 19h30
Ivory Coast – Wilfried Zaha
Crystal Palace have had a nightmare start to the 2017/18 season, but they still boast one of the Premier League’s most dangerous attackers in the shape of Wilfried Zaha. The 24-year-old has yet to really settle into the Elephants line-up, but if he can inspire them to the World Cup then he will have instant cult hero status amongst Ivorian supporters.
Morocco – Medhi Benatia
Morocco will need their defence to be at its best when they face Ivory Coast in Abidjan, and to that end they will look to captain and centre-back Medhi Benatia. The Juventus player has only recently returned to international football, but the chance to lead his national team to the World Cup will be a huge motivating factor.
Gabon – Levy Madinda
With Mario Lemina set to miss the match against Mali due to injury, Gabon coach Jose Antonio Camacho will look to Levy Madinda to set the tone in central midfield. The 25-year-old Asteras Tripoli player will hope to translate his good form at club level to the engine room of the Panthers.
Mali – Adama Traore
With Moussa Marega out with injury and doubts persisting over Moussa Doumbia’s ability to lead Mali’s attack, Adama Traore will look to use the match against Gabon as a chance to claim a regular starting berth for the Eagles heading into a fresh year of football in 2018.