Afcon 2019: Ivory Coast coach Kamara explains why Zaha didn't feature against Morocco

Crystal Palace attacker has started both Afcon matches on the bench and failed to get a run out against the Atlas Lions

Despite failing to feature for Ivory Coast in their defeat to Morocco, head coach Ibrahim Kamara is adamant Wilfried Zaha still has a role to play for his national team.

The Crystal Palace star was on the bench for the second consecutive 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) game, but unlike the previous clash where he came on in the second half, this time around the 26-year-old was an unused substitute.

However, Kamara has explained his reasoning behind the decision not to field Zaha.

According to the coach, he wanted to bring on the winger as a substitute, but an unexpected injury to Serge Aurier proved a stumbling block.

“Wilf is part of our plans, today I wanted to bring him on but unfortunately Aurier was injured so we had to bring a defender on, so I think the next match - we hope to go further - everyone will be invested, and definitely yes, Wilfried will be involved,” Kamara said after the game.

Meanwhile, a lot has been said about Morocco coach Herve Renard as he got one over his former side and booked the Atlas Lions’ place in the next round.

“It wasn’t against Renard, it was against Morocco. It could have been 1-1 but we lost 1-0,” Kamara added.

“The fact to have lost doesn’t change our plans or objectives, we need to qualify for the next round. You must finish among the two qualifiers.”

The Elephants' coach also rued his side’s mistakes during the game.

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“The high competition, errors are not permitted, if you lack concentration, on a placement, on a duel in a delicate zone, as we did for the first goal, or faults of concentration, or losing the ball, you pay,” Kamara explained.

“The boys will learn, guys like Nicolas Pepe will learn that the Afcon is something else, they will learn that the Afcon is harder than we think,” he concluded.

Ivory Coast now have it all to play for in their final game in Group D when they come up against bottom-placed Namibia on Monday likely needing a win to ensure progression to the Round of 16.