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Côte d’Ivoire

By Alexis Billebault
Posted on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 10:23

Too many egos ?spoil the broth

HONOURS

World Cup
2006: first round

African Cup of Nations?
1992: winner?

HOW THEY QUALIFIED

First in Group E, Africa zone

MANAGER

Sven-Goran Eriksson

IN GOAL

Boubacar Barry, Lokeren

Aristides Zogbo, Maccabi Netanya

Daniel Yeboah, Asec

DEFENCE

Souleymane Bamba, Hibernian

Arthur Boka, VB Stuttgart

Benjamin Brou Angoua, Valenciennes

Guy Demel, Hamburg SV

Emmanuel Eboue, Arsenal

Steve Gohouri, Wigan Athletic

Siaka Tiene, Valenciennes

Kolo Toure, Manchester City

MIDFIELD

Jean-Jacques Gosso Gosso, Monaco

Abdelkader Keita, Galatasaray

Emmanuel Kone, International

Curtea Arges

Gervinho, Lille

Koffi N’Dri Romaric, Sevilla

Cheik Ismael Tiote, Twente Enschede

Yaya

Toure, Barcelona

Didier Zokora, Sevilla

ATTACK

Aruna Dindane, Lekhwiya

Didier Drogba, Chelsea

Salomon Kalou, Chelsea

Bakary Kone, Olympique Marseille

This talented generation of ?Ivorian footballers must be wondering if they will ever be able to take home some silverware. Given the tough group, including favour-ites Brazil, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal and the imponderable North Koreans, they must be wondering what they have done to offend the footballing gods, ?especially since they will in all likelihood immediately meet the other Cup favourites, Spain, should they graduate from their group. Could it be that the Elephants will end up in the vast graveyard of those who never win anything despite so much promise??

It all started so well – in 2005, the team qualified for the World Cup with ease and then reached the final of the African Cup of Nations in 2006, only to be beaten by the Egyptian hosts. Four months later, they were talked of as the new wave of talent to come out of Africa, receiving honorable mentions for their matches in a tough group which included Argentina and Holland.

Coming fourth in the ACN of 2008, doubts about the cohesiveness of the admittedly-impressive line up began to creep in. Many are household names – Drogba, Eboué, ?Kalou, the brothers Touré and Koné – and most play in top European clubs, from Chelsea to Barcelona. Perhaps, then, the ‘star factor’ is in fact the problem, with too much individualism instead of collective strength. This was evident in Angola’s ACN, where the lack of cohesion was clear. The elimination of Côte d’Ivoire in the quarter-finals against Algeria after extra time (3-2) had consequences for coach Vahid ?Halilhodzic, who was sacked a few weeks later, despite leading the team on a long unbeaten run.

Sweden’s Sven-Göran Eriksson, brought in at the end of March, needs to clean house quickly and bring egos under control – not a task he was very good at when managing England’s World Cup squad in 2001.

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