Wilfried Zaha Cote d'Ivoire 2019

Crystal Palace star Zaha explains his absence from Ivory Coast squad

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha said he was unable to travel to the Ivory Coast camp due to family duties in England.

Zaha was among the 26 players invited by Patrice Beaumelle for the double-header Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixtures against Madagascar.

After helping Crystal Palace to a 4-1 win over Leeds United last Saturday, the 28-year-old did not make the trip to Abidjan for the first game against the island nation.

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On Thursday, he explained his absence and his ambition to return to the Elephants set-up in the next international break scheduled for March 2021.

"Wishing the team good luck today. I’ve got some family responsibilities that I’ve got to take care of, which means I won’t be there for the next two games but will be back the next time around. Supporting you all the way," Zaha tweeted.

In his absence, goals from Gervinho and debutant West Ham United star Sebastien Haller helped Ivory Coast secure a 2-1 victory against Madagascar at the newly-opened Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara.

The win fired the Elephants to the top of Group K, level on six points with second-placed Madagascar after three games.

They travel to Toamasina to battle the Barea in the reverse fixture at the Barikadimy Stadium on Tuesday.