Cote D' Ivoire gears up for African Cup of nations qualifier

10:26, March 25, 2011      

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The Cote D' Ivoire' s national soccer team, nicknamed Elephants, is gearing up for the 2012 African Cup of Nation' qualifying match against Benin in Accra on Sunday.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has shifted Ghana to Group H encounter as a result of the ongoing political unrest in neighboring Cote D' Ivoire.

The national under-23 team of the West African French-speaking country is also expected to face Liberia in an All African Games qualifier here on Saturday.

The full complement of the Elephants, Save Yahya Toure, who would miss the game due to his ankle injury, has arrived in Ghana and plunged into serious training rudiments for the qualifier.

Didier Drogba, captain of the Elephants, told media here at a press briefing that Cote D'Ivoire would defeat Benin on Sunday and move ahead to qualify for next year's African Cup of Nations, to be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

He debunked rumours that there was disunity among players of the national team, adding that they were all united for one course, to win trophies for their beloved country.

Cote D' Ivoire tops Group H, which also has lowly fancied sides Rwanda and Burundi, with six points, while Benin has garnered four points after second round of matches of the qualifiers.

A win would boost up Cote D' Ivoire' s chances of qualifying for the Cup of Nations for the 19th time.

The greatest feat chalked by the West Africans was winning the 1992 African Cup of Nations against neighboring Ghana on penalties at the Stade Leopold Senghor in Dakar, Senegal.

Cote d' Ivoire featured in the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups in Germany and South Africa respectively but failed to go past the group stages on both occasions.

Source: Xinhua

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