Leadership (Abuja)

26 January 2013

Africa: Afcon - Cote d'Ivoire, Tunisia Search for Quarter Final Ticket

Cote D'Ivoire head into their second 2013 AFCON encounter today in group D with Tunisia under intense pressure despite a slim victory over the Harks of Togo in the opener game. A first half goal from the reigning African footballer of the year, Yaya Toure and late minute strike by Arsenal forward, Gervinho seale the victory for the Elephants against the resilient Togolese side.

Cote D'Ivoire is arguably the strongest side in the competition but their first match performance wasn't the best overall display expected of the team. Today's match will be decisive one for both Cote D'Ivoire and Tunisia, who were highly impressive in their opener game with Algeria.

A second half late goal by Youssef Msakni gave the Tunisians all the three points. Both Tunisia and Ivory Coast have three points, making today's game decisive in their search for a quarter final ticket.

Cote D'Ivoire with the likes of Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba, Solomon Kalou and Gervinho present in the same generation is still missing an Africa Cup of Nations trophy, must step up to the challenge if they want to emulated the team of 1992, that won the Cup in Senegal.

Their opening game with Togo was characterised by poor mistakes and careless passes that gifted Togo the majority of the possession in the first half. Three minutes into match a mistake at the back by Kolo Toure let Emmanuel Adebayor through on goal and with just the keeper to beat, before the Tottenham Hotspur striker failed to take the opportunity as he tried to round the keeper.

Adebayor was left to rue his missed chance five minutes later when Yaya Toure gave Ivory Coast the lead. And sloppy defense of the Ivorians saw a low cross make its way past the front post to an unmarked Jonathan Ayite who side-footed the ball home from six-yards out to level matters at 1-1 going into the halftime break.

Ageing Drogba, who is playing his last Africa Cup of Nations could not make any meaningful impact and had to be substituted few minutes into the second half. Cote d'Ivoire are the bookmakers favourites to wrestle the crown at the end of this competition.

Since 2006, when the likes of Didier Drogba, Toure brothers, Didier Zokora, Solomon Kalou, Emmanuel Eboue, Aruna Kone announced their presence in the world of round leather game, Cote d'Ivoire has been bookmakers favourite for any Africa Cup of Nations. They deserve the tag because the squad comprises of players that will make any rival coach envious. But for all the strength and skill of the Elephants, they have continuously failed to justify their favorites' tag.

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