Three new players have been named in the Elephants of La Cote d’Ivoire’s squad for this month’s high profile friendlies against European Giants, France and England.
Despite calling some new players, the Elephants’ coach, Patrice Beaumelle, kept faith in some of the key players for the two tough matches during the international break, majority of whom took part in the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon. Unfortunately, the Elephants could not make it to the Final round of qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar which will be played across the continent next week.
But some key players were left out of the squad, one of which is Turkey-based Gervinho, who could not make the 25-man squad because of injuries that have affected his playing time this season.
There was no place in the squad for the in-form Lens midfielder, Seko Fofana as well as Wilfried Kanon, Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro, Yohan Boli and Amad Diallo.
Great news for young debutants
Young France-based goalkeeper, Mohammed Kone, was named in the squad for the first time for the two matches to be played in Europe. The 20-year-old, who plays for French Side Le Havre, has been given the opportunity to impress the coaching staff as they seek to augment the team.
Another France-based player, Ismael Diallo, was also handed his maiden call-up and the Ajaccio left-back will be fighting for a permanent place in the squad. The call-up to the senior side is a promotion for Diallo, who has played for all the junior national teams for his country since 2013.
The 25-year-old’s impressive form for Ajaccio this season, having started in about 80% of their matches so far in the season, resulted in his invitation. Meanwhile, Real Betis 24-year-old midfielder, Paul Akouokou, also got his first call-up to the Elephants’ squad after some good showing for the La Liga side this season.
Coach Beaumelle kept faith in the regular players of the squad such as, Serge Aurier of Spanish side Villarreal, Eric Bailly of Manchester United, AC Milan’s Franck Kessié, Arsenal star Nicolas Pépé and Sébastien Haller of Ajax Amsterdam.
Cote d’Ivoire will play France in Marseille on 25th March, 2022, before taking on England at Wembley four days later. The Elephants, who are not involved in the World Cup playoffs, are using the high-profile matches to prepare for their hosting for the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations next year.
Full Squad list
Goalkeepers: Badra Ali Sangaré (JDR Stars, South Africa), Abdoul Karim Cissé (ASEC), Mohamed Koné (Le Havre, France).
Defenders: Serge Aurier (Villarreal, Spain), Wilfried Singo (Torino, Italy), Eric Bailly (Manchester United, England), Willy Bolly (Wolverhampton, England), Odilon Kossounou (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Emmanuel Agbadou (Eupen, Belgium), Ismaël Diallo (AC Ajaccio, France), Hassane Kamara (Watford, England), Ghislain Konan (Reims, France).
Midfielders: Jean-Michael Seri (Fulham, England), Ibrahim Sangaré (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Paul Edgard Akouokou (Betis, Spain), Franck Kessié (AC Milan, Italy).
Forwards: Jérémie Boga (Atalanta, Italy), Max-Alain Gradel (Sivasspor, Turkey), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace, England), Hamed Junior Traoré (Sassuolo, Italy), Jean-Evrard Kouassi (Trabzonspor, Turkey), Nicolas Pépé (Arsenal, England), Sebastien Haller (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands), Maxwel Cornet (Burnley, England), Christian Kouame (Anderlecht, Belgium).