Cote d’Ivoire - Guinea Preview: Francois Zahoui hoping to maintain Fifa ranking

The Elephants and the Syli National will clash in Abidjan on Wednesday to reiterate their 2012 Afcon form and lay the grounds for the 2013 Afcon and 2014 World Cup qualifiers


Zokora, Boka, Tiene
Y. Toure, Gosso, Tiote, Gradel
Gervinho, Bony, Doumbia


Bah, Balde, Bangoura, Zayatte
Bah, H. Balde, Camara, Conte
Bangoura, A. Camara

Fresh from a heartbreaking 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, with local fans still ruing the narrow loss of the title to Zambia, Cote d’Ivoire are trying to quickly put the tournament’s misfortunes behind them and open a new page on which supporters can see hope and draw strength.

The first intention of coach Francois Zahoui is to maintain the team’s position on Fifa’s ranking table as number one in Africa using the clash against Guinea, before soothing the pain from Gabon and Equatorial Guinea 2012, which many back home still feel was the Elephants’ best and last opportunity to honour the brilliant generation with a long-merited trophy.

The former Cote d’Ivoire international will be fighting to keep his job, which others are eyeing. Although the FA still apparently have confidence in him, the slightest fumble against the Syli National on home ground will set off the underlying debate over whether an expatriate should take over.

Guinea had a wonderful Afcon, realising the biggest win of the tournament against newcomers Botswana 6-1 and holding Group D favourites Ghana to a 1-1 draw. The Syli National could have advanced to the quarter-finals if the outcome of their opener had been favourable, but Mali’s 1-0 win had roughened their path from the start.

The authorities and the football federation (Feguifoot) were highly satisfied with Michel Dussuyer’s performance and have renewed their trust in the 52-year-old Frenchman, who is eager to consolidate the Afcon performance by leading his side against the star-studded Ivorian team, despite playing far from home in Abidjan.

Cote d’Ivoire captain Didier Drogba, Kolo Toure, Angoua Brou and Salomon Kalou have been sidelined for the match.

  • Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea are meeting for the 15th time in their history, with the Elephants winning 12 of the clashes, Guinea three and two draws completing their set of results.
  • Proceeds from the match will be donated to local charities around Cote d’Ivoire.
  • The Elephants have won the Afcon once, two decades ago in 1992.
  • Guinea’s two most influential players, Pascal Feindouno and Kevin Constant, were not called up and the coach did not give any reasons for their absence.
  • Arles-Avignon’s 19-year-old forward Mohamed Yattara has been called up to the Guinea outfit for the first time, but his club declined to release him.
  • Guinea were responsible for Nigeria not qualifying to take part in the 2012 Afcon.