The Syli Stars of Guinea need a point in Abidjan and hope Malawi lose in Burkina Faso to qualify for next year's Nations Cup...
Kick-Off: Saturday, November 14, 2009, Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium, Abidjan
Ivory Coast Insist There Will Be No Favours For Guinea
Even though they booked their World Cup ticket last month after a 1-1 draw away in Malawi, the Elephants of the Ivory Coast have insisted they will not be taking this final group game at home to Guinea lightly and as such have picked a strong squad for Saturday's clash.
Coach Vahid Halihodzic has insisted his team will not give Guinea any unfair advantage and will be at their best in front of their fans at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.
"We hope that the fans will turn out in their numbers to celebrate with us. This match would be like a gift we hope to offer to the Ivorian people. Our target is to win the match. We will not cheat; we will not just run on the pitch, we will play our best football,” he said.
"Guinea need to win. They will play with determination, not minding whether they are playing at home or away. We respect this team, like we do the others we have met and we are still to meet on our way. That is why we will play to the end of the qualifiers in style and instil confidence in the public.”
Halilhodzic has recalled striker Aruna Dindane, who has regained his spark on loan at English Premier League outfit Portsmouth from Lens of France.
However, the team have been hit by injuries to Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, Bakary Kone, who stars for Olympique Marseille, and first choice goalkeeper Boubacar Barry.
It is therefore a chance for the Elephants to test another player between the sticks as both Aristide Zogbo (Maccabi Netanya) and Ibrahim Kone (Boulogne-sur- mer) have been called up in this regard.
Guinea Battle For Nations Cup Berth
Such is the unpredictability of the game that two years ago, Guinea were tipped as genuine contenders to win the Africa Cup of Nations in neighbouring Ghana. The Guineans were thrashed 5-0 by the Ivorians in the quarter-final of the tournament.
The Syli Stars were again on the losing side when both teams clashed in the 2010 World Cup qualifier in Conakry in June when they were edged 2-1.
Guinea need a draw at least, and then hope Malawi come unstuck away to Burkina Faso, to win a place at the Nations Cup in Angola next January. If they lose, they will finish fourth in the pool.
Newly-appointed Guinea coach, Mamadi Souare kicked off a massive controversy when he picked his brother, Ibrahima, who is clubless and has yet to feature in this qualifying campaign.
Ibrahima last played club football for Greek second division side Kerkyra in April, while his last appearance for the national side was at the 2006 Nations Cup in Egypt.
Burkina Faso 2-3 Ivory Coast
Tunisia 0-0 Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast 5-0 Burkina Faso
Malawi 1-1 Ivory Coast
Guinea 1-2 Ivory Coast
Angola 0-0 Guinea
Guinea 2-1 Malawi
Guinea 1-2 Burkina Faso
Injury means Didier Drogba will miss Saturday's match but he may likely feature in a friendly against Germany on Wednesday.
Aristide Zogbo (Maccabi Netanya), Ibrahim Koné (Boulogne-sur- mer), Vincent Angban (Asec Abidjan)
Guy Demel (Hambourg), Emmanuel Eboué (Arsenal), Siaka Tiené (Valenciennes), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart), Kolo Touré (Man. City), Abdoulaye Meité (WBA), Benjamin Angoua Brou (Honved), Souleiman Bamba (Hearts of Middlothian)
Yaya Touré (Barcelone), Didier Zokora (Séville), Romaric (Séville), Emmanuel Kouamatien Koné (International Curtea), Jean-Jacques Gosso Gosso (Monaco), Cheikh Tioté (Twente)
Bakari Koné (Marseille), Salomon Kalou (Chelsea), Kader Keita (Galatasaray), Gervinho (Lille), Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Aruna Dindane (Portsmouth)
Big defender Bobo Balde has been in great form for his new French club Valenciennes and will have to be at his best against the Ivorians at the weekend.
Kemoko Camara (Cholet, France), Naby Yattara (Arles-Avignon, France)
Dian Bobo Balde (Valenciennes, France), Kamil Zayatte (Hull City, England), Oumar Kalabane (Vestel Manisaspor, Turkey), Mamadou Diallo (Diyarbakirspor, Turkey), Ibrahima Camara (Le Mans, France), Morlaye Cissé (FC Mulhouse, France), Ibrahima Diallo (SC Charleroi, Belgium)
Alseny Camara (Châteauroux, France), Kanfory Sylla (Istanbul B.B, Turkey), Kevin Constant (Châteauroux, France), Mamadou Dioulde Bah (Strasbourg, France), Samuel Johnson (Talaea El Geish, Egypt), Pascal Feindouno (Al Rayyan Club, Qatar), Ibrahima Souaré (unattached), Naby Laye Soumah (Horoya, Guinea)
Alhassane Keita (Mallorca, Spain), Kaba Diawara (Arles-Avignon, France), Ibrahima Bangoura (Denizlispor, Turkey), Ismaël Bangoura (Stade Rennais, France), Fodé Mansaré (Toulouse, France), Souleymane Youla (Eskisehirspor, Turkey)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Gervinho - The Lille star has a chance to shine in the absence of Driogba and Bakary Kone. He was outstanding when Ivory Coast reached the quarter-final of the football event of the Beijing Olympics last year. He has the flair, vision and the goals to soon be rubbing shoulders with the best.
Pascal Feindouno - The team skipper remains their main inspiration even though he is now playing his football in Qatar. Guinea need to attack to win and so will rely on the former Saint-Etienne star to do so on Saturday.
Guinea will make a game of this clash but will end up losing third-placed to Malawi in a bid to stage a return to the Nations Cup finals after a long absence.
Ivory Coast 2-0 Guinea
Samm Audu, Goal.com