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Group C decider pits the Elephants against Atlas Lions – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

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Group C decider pits the Elephants against Atlas Lions

Eric Bailly of Ivory Coast clears ball from Dieudonne Bezua Mbokani of DR Congo during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon football match between Ivory Coast and DR Congo at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 20 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 08, 2017. 17:30


The 2018 World Cup qualifying Group C decider sees Ivory Coast host Morocco at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan on Saturday evening at 19h30 CAT.

This meeting of the Elephants and Atlas Lions promises to be one of the best qualifying matches on show this weekend, and AfricanFootball.com will have LIVE coverage of the clash.

The odds are stacked in favour of Morocco, who hold a one-point lead at the top of the table and know that they need only avoid defeat in Abidjan to secure a fifth World Cup qualification, and their first since 1998.

Ivory Coast, meanwhile, must win the match to leapfrog to the top of the standings. Should they do so, it would see them secure a ticket to their fourth successive World Cup.

The match is given extra emotive value by the status of the teams’ coaches. Morocco’s Herve Renard will be facing the team he took to Africa Cup of Nations glory as recently as 2015, while Ivory Coast’s Marc Wilmots may very well see this game as one in which his job is one the line.

The Belgian has earned little affection from Elephants fans since taking charge earlier this year, yet if he can secure a place in Russia 2018 it would certainly raise his stock in the West African country and secure his position for the forseeable future.

Wilmots has called for unity from Ivorian fans ahead of the do-or-die clash, saying, “We will have a final in Abidjan, we must win against Morocco.”

Renard has been more nuanced in his pre-match talk, but has taken confidence from beating Ivory Coast at the AFCON earlier this year, as well as holding the Elephants to a goalless draw in the teams’ first Group C meeting in Marrakesh a year ago.

“We’re going to play our final game against Ivory Coast, and this game is going to be difficult,” the French tactician told beIN Sport

“We defeated Ivory Coast during the Africa Cup of Nations. We’ll have to do the same again.”

Renard added, “I think that we’ve made a lot of progress. But we have to be very efficient during those 90 minutes to seek this qualification that a whole nation is waiting for.”

The teams have met in 18 previous matches, according to FIFA statistics, with Ivory Coast claiming six wins compared to five for Morocco. The Atlas Lions beat the Elephants 1-0 when the pair met in the group stage of this year’s AFCON.

The other Group C match will see Gabon host Mali in Franceville on Saturday afternoon.

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Zaha ready to lead Elephants to Russia – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

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by
Staff Reporter

Saturday Nov 04, 2017. 13:00


Wilfried Zaha will be aiming to lead the Ivory Coast to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with the Crystal Palace winger having been named in the country’s 25-man-squad for their crucial clash against Morocco next week.

The Elephants welcome the Atlas Lions in Abidjan on the 11th of November, with the hosts needing nothing but victory if they are to secure a place at the upcoming showpiece.

Morocco currently lead the way in Group C with nine points from five fixtures, one more than their counterparts.

Zaha has been in impressive form for the Eagles this season and duly clinched the club’s Player of the Month accolade for October. He has also been nominated for the Premier League Player of the Month award.

Ivory Coast head coach Marc Wilmots will be hoping that 24-year-old carry his impressive form onto the international stage as the West African nation set their sights on qualifying for a fourth successive World Cup.

Moreover, the Elephants will be without Manchester United defender Eric Bailly who will miss the game through suspension.

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Elephants forget how to score against Niger – WAFU Cup of Nations 2017

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Elephants forget how to score against Niger

Victorien Adje Adebayor. Z of Niger challenged by Jimoh Sherif Olatunde of Ivory Coast during 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations match between Niger and Ivory Coast at Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Cape Coast, Ghana on 17 September 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by
Brian Lee

Sunday Sep 17, 2017. 19:05


Cote d’Ivoire have forgotten how to score after going without a goal for a second game in a row after playing to a 0-0 draw against Niger in a Group B, 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations match at Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Sunday, September 17.

Niger had the first scoring chance in the fifth minute when a mistake by the Elephants keeper saw him spill the ball into the path of Victorien Adebayor, but he fired over from just inside the box with an empty at his mercy.

Ten minutes later Victorien Adebayor was gifted another golden chance to score when he broke through on goal, but with just the keeper to beat he fluffed his shot allowing Jean Malcik Ble Zadi to make an easy save.

In the 24th minute Cote d’Ivoire fashioned their first sight on goal when Ousmane Ouattara met a corner-kick, but he headed over the target from two yards out when it looked easier to score.

In the 39th minute Niger suffered a bit of a set-back when Abdoul Boubacar had to leave the field injured and was replaced by Ibrahim Mansour.

Still, despite the disappointment of losing a player to injury, Niger created a great chance a minute later when a good passing move saw Idrissa Halidou meet a low cross from the right, but his 12-yard effort sailed inches over the target.

The half ended 0-0.

The second half started a little slowly with chances on goal at a bare minimum.

The first decent chance came on the hour mark when Victorien Adebayor created some space for himself 22-yards out, but his stinging shot went just wide of the goal.

Cote d’Ivoire saw a lot of the ball, but struggled to create decent openings on goal and had to shoot from range with one such effort coming in the 78th minute courtesy of Idrissa Halidou, but his shot was well-saved by the keeper.

Four minutes later Niger were on the attack with a long range effort from Abdoul Karim Cissoko shaving the wrong side of the post.

Both sides pushed forward in the final ten minutes, but neither could find a winning goal as the game ended goalless.

The result leaves Niger on four points in Group B while Cote d’Ivoire have one point.

Niger (0) 0

Cote d’Ivoire (0) 0

Teams

Niger coach: Francois Zahoui Gagui Victor

Niger: 16. K Daouda, 3. Lebene, 15. Abdoulaye, 18. Dankwae, 17. Souley, 8. M Daouda (9. Hinsa 93’), 23. Boubacar (4. Mansour 39’), 12. Dela, 20. Hainikoye, 11. Victorien, 10. Halidou (13. S Moussa 62’).

Cote d’Ivoire coach: Ibrahima Kamara

Cote d’Ivoire: 1. Ble Zadi, 2. Britto, 4. Ouattara, 13. Konan, 14. Jimoh, 8. Diarra, 3. Gonazo, 10. Diabate, 5. Aka Essis, 9. Bi N’Guessan (11. Guiagon 93’), 15. P N’Guessan (7. Gnangbo 81’).

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Benin stun the Elephants – WAFU Cup of Nations 2017

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Benin stun the Elephants

Diarra Inza of Cote D Ivore challenged by Mama Seibou of Benin during 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations match between Ivory Coast and Benin at Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Cape Coast, Ghana on 15 September 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by
Brian Lee

Friday Sep 15, 2017. 21:59


A goal from Charbel Gomez handed Benin a shock 1-0 win over Cote d’Ivoire in a Group B, 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations match at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Friday, September 15.

The first scoring opportunity came in the 15th minute when Ivorian Inza Diabate brilliantly controlled a cross from the right on his chest and volleyed goalwards, but the Benin keeper made a spectacular close range save to deny.

Six minutes later Fulgenc Aka Essis met a cross from the right at the back post, but his eight-yard header was acrobatically stopped by the Benin keeper once again.

Despite being on the back foot for the most part, Benin took the lead in the 40th minute, very much against the run of play, when a shot from Marcellin Koupo was saved into the path of Charbel Gomez who duly tapped into the net from only a couple of yards out, 1-0.

Cote d’Ivoire tried to find an equaliser before the break, but entered the tunnel at half time trailing by a goal.

The Elephants continued to dictate terms in the second half, but they struggled to break down a resolute Benin defence.

The first significant attempt of the second half came in the 65th minute when Kouame-Noel N’Guessan fired inches over the Benin goal from the edge of the box.

Two minutes later the Squirrels mounted only their second attack of the game, but were thwarted by the outstretched hand of Jean Malic Ble Zadi who turned a low 22-yard shot from Charbel Gomez around the post.

In the 76th minute Charbel Gomez caused another headache for Cote d’Ivoire as he dribbled his way past three defenders before being denied by the goalkeeper from close range.

The Elephants threw numbers forward in the final ten minutes of the match in search of an equaliser, but Benin held on for a famous 1-0 win.

Cote d’Ivoire (0) 0

Benin (1) 1 (Gomez 40’)

Teams

Cote d’Ivoire coach: Ibrahima Kamara

Cote d’Ivoire: 1. Ble Zadi, 2. Britto, 4. Ouattara, 13. Konan, 14. Jimoh, 12. Cissoko (8. Diarra 58’), 3. Gonazo, 10. Diabate, 5. Aka Essis, 9. N’Guessan (11. Guiagon 78’), 18. Voli Bi (7. Gnangbo 46’).

Benin coach: Oumar Tchomogo

Benin: 1. Glodjinon, 3. Fassinou, 18. Counou, 5. Salmon, 12. Bah-Yere, 15. Ogoulola (4. Hougbedji 70’), 8. Mama, 13. Osseni (17. Aboki 51’), 10. Koukpo, 11. Gomez, 14. Bessan (19. Elegbede 83’).

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The National Elephants come from behind to trounce Guinea-Bissau – WAFU Cup of Nations 2017

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The National Elephants come from behind to trounce Guinea-Bissau

Camara Seydouba of Guinea challenged by Tigana Quebe of Guinea-Bissau during 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations match between Guinea and Guinea-Bissau at Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Cape Coast, Ghana on 10 September 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by
Staff Reporter

Sunday Sep 10, 2017. 21:55


Goals from Sekou Ketia and Abdoulaye Camara saw Guinea come from behind to beat Guinea-Bissau 2-1 in a Last 16, 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations match at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Sunday, September 10.

The Djurtus took the ascendancy early on and opened the scoring in the 15th minute when Gilson Correia headed a pin-point free-kick from the left by Tigana Quebe into the back of the net, 1-0.

Guinea almost levelled matters in the 27th minute when a shot-cum-cross from the right by Seydouba Camara came back off the crossbar.

Three minutes later the National Elephants were afforded the perfect opportunity to equalise when Hemiliano Gomes Lopes pulled Ismael Sylla down inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot.

Sekou Ketia stepped up for Guinea and made no mistake from the penalty-spot to draw the game level, 1-1.

In the 40th minute the National Elephants took the lead after a great passing move inside the Guinea-Bissau box concluded with Abdoulaye Camara slotting home from close range, 2-1.

The second half started slowly and chances on goal were at a bare minimum.

The first real opportunity of the stanza only came on the hour mark courtesy of a stinging 25-yard free-kick from Guinea’s Seydouba Camara, but the Djurtus keeper made a find save to deny him.

In the 78th minute Guinea-Bissau almost equalised when Mutaro Embalo broke into the box from the left flank, but his shot from an acute angle was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Abdoulaye Sylla.

The Djurtus threw numbers forward in search of a second goal, but Guinea defended stoutly to hold on for a hard fought 2-1 win.

Guinea (1) 2 (Keita 32’ pen, Abdoulaye Camara 40’)

Guinea-Bissau (1) 1 (Correia 15’)

Teams

Guinea coach: Hamidou Camara

Guinea: 1. A Sylla, 2. Alseny Camara, 4. N Camara, 5. A Conde, 3. I Sylla, 17. D Bangoura, 8. Abdoulaye Camara, 13. M Jean (7. Sory Camara 86’), 10. S Camara, 11. K Keita (Cisse 71’), 15. S Keita (K Camara 62’).

Guinea-Bissau coach: Domingo Nafatcha

Guinea-Bissau: 12. Rui Dabo, 13. Mane, 14. Correia, 5. Lamine Ba, 17. Lopes, 6. Djalo, 10 Embalo, 8. Pires, 7. Quebe, 11. Embalo, 9. Da costa (18. Junior 60’).

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Kalou and I bring experience to the Elephants – Gervinho – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

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Kalou and I bring experience to the Elephants - Gervinho

Salomon Kalou of Ivory Coast during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Ivory Coast and DR Congo at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 20 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Aug 31, 2017. 17:00


Ivory Coast veteran Gervinho insists he and fellow attacker Salomon Kalou will bring experience to the national team ahead of their World Cup qualifiers.

Gervinho and Kalou both missed the Elephants’ last competitive match, a 3-2 defeat at home to Guinea in qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations back in June.

In their absence, coach Marc Wilmots fielded Maxwell Cornet, Giovanni Sio and Seydou Doumbia in attack.

Yet the old guard is back for the Ivory Coast’s back-to-back 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Gabon on Saturday and Tuesday, with Kalou and Gervinho sharing the better part of 200 caps between them.

“We [Gervinho and Kalou] are not here to play the heroes. We came to bring a plus to the team,” said Gervinho earlier in the week.

“It’s normal that people rely on us because we have played for a long time in this team.

“The last time I was not there for personal problems. The defeat against Guinea is something that happens.”

The former Arsenal player added, “We did not come to tell the difference between us and the others.

“We are here to bring our experience to the team. We need to build a team that will qualify us for the World Cup.”

The Elephants will face Gabon in Libreville and Bouake on September 2 and 5 respectively.

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