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28 May 2023

Elephants won't forget mistakes of 2008



Title favourites Ivory Coast launch their 2010 African Nations Cup campaign today against Burkina Faso in the Cabinda enclave where the Togo squad were attacked by separatists in a terror attack on Friday.

The 'Elephants' finished second and fourth in the past two editions of the biennial African football showcase and they are widely tipped to go all the way this time in Angola.

A glance at the 23-strong squad reveals why the burden of favouritism must be carried by a team containing stars from some of Europe's wealthiest clubs.

Defensive general Kolo Toure receives his pay slip from Manchester City, midfielder Yaya Toure lines up with European and world champions Barcelona, and striker Didier Drogba plays for heavyweights Chelsea.

However, Burkina Faso, defeated 3-2 and 5-0 by the Ivorians in the 2010 qualifying competition, have little to offer in return with only striker Moumouni Dagano creating international headlines last year.

He overshadowed Drogba (pictured) and fellow African stars Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon and Mali's Frederic Kanoute by finishing leading scorer with 12 goals in the qualifiers.

But captain Drogba has warned his team-mates to be vigilant, claiming over confidence contributed heavily to a 4-1 semi-final drubbing by Egypt in Ghana two years ago.

"We will be treating every team coming our way in Angola with respect, humility and seriousness. There is no room for complacency as in Ghana. No match is won in advance," warned Drogba.

"From the bottom of my heart I desire to return home with a glorious result, which will give joy to the Ivorian people. My team-mates and I will be sweating it out as much as we can."

Coach Vahid Halilhodzic, who fears failure to win the Nations Cup will trigger calls for his dismissal five months before Ivory Coast go to the World Cup in South Africa, worries about the readiness of stars like Drogba for steamy Angola.

"We are concerned about all our players' fitness, especially those like Drogba who are involved in so many matches," he said.

"Didier is a human being; he is not a machine. Even a machine needs to rest if it is to run effectively and efficiently. It is unrealistic to play two [Premier League] matches within three days."


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