Ivory Coast’s Elephants

Ivory Coast have been one of Africa’s powerhouses over the last decade but have no silverware to show for it despite reaching two Africa Cup of Nations finals between 2006 and 2012.  The Elephants are coached by the man who masterminded their demise in the 2012 final, former Zambia boss Herve Renard.  The greatest accomplishment for the Ivorians came in 1992 when they defeated Ghana on penalties at the Stade Leopold Senghor in Dakar, Senegal to lift their only AFCON trophy to date.  Cote d’Ivoire have qualified for each of the last three FIFA World Cup tournaments; Germany in 2006, South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014.  In all three cases they failed to move beyond the group stage.

The West Africans finished the AFCON qualifiers with 10 points and in second spot after playing six games with three wins, a draw and a couple of defeats.  Ivory Coast has produced several world class players including Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Seydou Doumbia, Gervinho, Salomon Kalou and Kolo Toure in the last decade.  The Elephants are generally considered to be one of the elite teams in Africa but to have their place in history cemented, they will need to win a major trophy.

The Ivorians will face Guinea in their first game of the competition at Nuevo Estadio de Malabo in Equatorial Guinea, before meeting Mali and Cameroon in their other Group D outings.

Prediction: Quarter-Finalists

Photo: Serge Aurier in action during the FIFA World Cup against Greece.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue