Ivory Coast ready for repeat AFCON success, says Kalou

Ivory Coast Africa Cup of Nations 2015
The ex-Chelsea forward is hoping to help his country defend a trophy that they claimed in dramatic fashion two years ago in a penalty shoot-out


Salomon Kalou is hoping to see Ivory Coast stage another successful bid for Africa Cup of Nations honours two years on from their last success in Equatorial Guinea - where the ex-Chelsea man helped his team to take the title on penalties. 

The 31-year-old is an experienced head with 83 caps and 28 goals to his name for his country, but endured one of the most tense encounters of his career against Ghana in 2015. Ivory Coast eventually prevailed in a sudden death shoot-out as they earned their second Africa Cup of Nations trophy, having last taken the crown in 1992. 

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Kalou has become one of his team's most important players as they seek to repeat their previous successes in Gabon. The Hertha Berlin forward is proud that he will be able to defend The Elephants' honour at the 2017 tournament and hopes that his country won't have to wait as long as last time to get their hands on more winners' medals.

"I think we are very fortunate to go and defend, with honour, trophies for our country. We love to wear the shirt," he told  Goal . "So let’s do it and I am looking forward to it because we have a great team with potential to keep our trophy.

"I can’t wait to go and do it. It took a long time to get it last time so let's hope this next one comes sooner. Gabon is a beautiful country with beautiful cities and beautiful people so I'm excited.

"I believe that our team can have an great tournament and I have no doubt that we will be fully prepared to retain the trophy when the time comes."

Ivory Coast opened their 2017 campaign against Togo on Monday, with a 0-0 draw edging them out of the blocks in Group C.

Follow Salomon on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @SalomonKalou and his Foundation @FondationKalou