5 reasons Ivory Coast can win the African Cup of Nations
Ivory Coast come into this tournament as the defending champions of the African title. After over 20 years of disappointments, they finally conquered the competition in the Equatorial Guinea.The hosts were vanquished 3-0 before Ghana were defeated in the final with the very last penalty of a 17-spot-kick marathon.
The major surprise is that they did it without talisman and record goalscorer Didier Drogba, who retired only months before. Now, they’re back in the tournament and will be looking to reclaim the African crown. With big sides like South Africa, Nigeria and the plucky Zambian minnows out of the tournament, it looks good. However, Egypt are back this time, and Ghana will be looking for revenge.
Also read: 5 reasons Ghana can win the AFCON 2017
Will the Ivory Coast retain their crown for the first time in their history? Let’s take a look at why they just might.
#1 A superstar defence
The Ivorian back line boasts some of European club football’s best defenders in Lamine Kone, Serge Aurier and Manchester United’s Eric Bailly. These men will almost certainly feature quite frequently for Michel Dussuyer’s team. All of them are quite pacy and strong, and Bailly and Kone are frequent starters at the Premier League level. Aurier’s speed and versatility will surely trouble opponents at both ends of the pitch.
Depending on how Dussuyer decides to line up his troops, it will be interesting to see if teams try to attack them down the middle. With Bailly and Kone in top form for their respective club sides, teams may find it a very hard duo to break. With Aurier in there as well, a floating wing-back position would also be a tantalising prospect.