Gervinho: Senegal shouldn’t be a threat in 2013 Afcon qualifying

The Arsenal winger has reacted to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final draw which pitted the Elephants against longtime regional rivals Teranga Lions

After avoiding each other in recent times, Cote D’Ivoire and Senegal will soon be locking horns in the final round of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying after they were drawn against each other on Thursday in South Africa.

The Teranga Lions are seen by many locals as a big threat to the Elephants’ high ambitions for next year’s showpiece after they narrowly lost the 2012 Afcon title to Zambia on penalties. However, Gervinho says the Ivorian team is mature enough face any adversary.

“At this level, Cote D’Ivoire need not to be afraid of any team. Senegal are a great side and we respect them for that but we are not scared in any way to confront them,” the Arsenal forward told state television RTI on Friday.

“Our number one ambition at the moment is to qualify for the finals of the 2013 Afcon no matter the adversary we’ll be facing. To me, it’s a very favourable draw. All we have to do is to carry off both clashes on a good aggregate. If we play as we have been doing I see no reason why we shouldn’t be at South Africa 2013.”

Cote D’Ivoire will host the first leg, which observers consider a risky adventure for the continent’s number one team, but the 25-year-old former Lille striker said there would be no need for calculations but playing football.

“There are no calculations to make, we will be going out to play our football,” he said. “We will do our best to dominate the first leg in Abidjan and then try to beat Senegal at home in Dakar. It’s possible. We have a team that can do that.”

The first leg will be played early September while the return by mid October.