Can Ivory Coast Win The African Cup of Nations?

nd minute equaliser from Madjid Bougherra. Time is quickly running out for this golden generation. Didier Drogba may have split opinions during his time at Chelsea but in the Ivory Coast he enjoys an almost god-like status. It would be a surprise to many in Africa if he ended his playing career without a Cup of Nations winner€™s medal. The current Elephants team are by far the best side in Africa, boasting the likes of Drogba, the Toure brothers, Cheick Tiote, Lacina Traore, Gervinho and Solomon Kalou and they€™ll head into this year€™s tournament the clear favourites. But if Zambia€™s inspiring win taught us anything, it€™s that the African Cup of Nations is unpredictable. Two other African footballing giants, Ghana and Nigeria, are back and they both look reinvigorated. Ghana fell victim to Zambia in the semi-finals last year, while Nigeria didn€™t even qualify for the competition. Zambia return with pretty much the same squad as last year €“ although some may argue that there isn€™t the same desire to win the competition after their success last year. South Africa host this year and their Bafana Bafana team have just as much chance of winning as anyone. One African Cup of Nations statistic which could boost South African hopes: 44% of the winners have been the host nation. Emmanuel Adebayor is the star of a disorganised Togo team who will start in the same group as the Ivory Coast. Tunisia and Algeria both have formidable sides and both could cause trouble for the Elephants even at the early stage. The biggest underdogs in the tournament this year are Cape Verde. They may not boast the most talented eleven players but they are well-organised €“ a trait which can€™t be said about most of the teams in the Cup of Nations €“ and they are difficult to break down. Cameroon, one of the best African sides, were even knocked out in the qualifying stages by the Blue Sharks. Ethiopia will also look to cause a few surprises as this is their first time in the tournament in 30 years. The other major threat comes from Group A. Morocco are never the most reliable team but manager Rachid Taoussi had attempted to create stability by dropping the likes of Adel Taarabt and out-of-favour Mbark Boussoufa. Younes Belhanda will definitely start but his form for Montpellier has been so-so this season and Oussama Assaidi has not started regularly for Liverpool. Most eyes though will again be focused on the Ivory Coast team. It€™s been suggested that they are too mentally fragile and too dependent on individual players creating something to actually win the trophy. Maybe the person to finally drag them to the victory will be the player who was so vital in Chelsea lifting their first Champions League trophy?

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Write about football and games. Support Liverpool. Consistently disappointed.