Manchester United defender Eric Bailly and Tottenham’s Serge Aurier have been named in a 23-man squad by Ivorian coach Kamara Ibrahim to face Rwanda in a Group H Afcon Qualifier encounter which will be staged in Kigali on September 9, 2018.
Also called is Serey Die (FC Basel/Swiss), Franck Kessie (Milan AC/Italy), Kodjia Jonathan (Aston Villa/ England), and Max Gradel (Toulouse/France),
Ivory Coast who are aiming to qualify for next year’s continental tournament which will be held in Cameroon is without several of its star players like Yaya Toure who is yet to secure a professional club and Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha who is absent due to personal reasons.
Gervinho (freshly transferred to Parma), Salomon Kalou, Wilfried Bony, Seydou Doumbia and Jean-Philippe Gbamin are other key players who were not summoned due to injuries and inactivity.
The Elephants coach Kamara who was appointed recently will be seeking to secure maximum points against Rwanda following their 2-3 loss to Guinea in their first home match played last year in June.
Meanwhile, Amavubi under Coach Mashami Vincent have enhanced their preparations as they gear up to secure positive results against the former African champions.
Today, they held their two sessions at Stade de Kigali following the arrival of skipper Haruna Niyonzima. Two more sessions are lined up tomorrow too.
Rwanda started the group campaign on a low note, losing 2-1 to the Republic of Central Africa in Bangui in the two sides’ first-leg in June last year.
Amavubi have been drawn in Group H alongside Ivory Coast, the Republic of Central Africa, and Guinea Conakry.
Cote d’Ivoire’s 23-man Squad:
Goalkeepers: Sayouba Mande (OB/Danemark), Badra Ali (Free State Stars/South Africa), Gbohouo Sylvain (TP Mazembe/DRC)
Defenders: Eric Bailly (Man United/England), Serge Aurier (Tottenham/England), Kanon Wilfried ( ADO Den Haag/ Holland), Traoré Adama (Göztepe/Turkey), Kone Lamine (Strasbourg/France) and Ghislain Konan (Stade de Reims/France)
Midfielders: Serey Die (FC Basel/Swiss), Ahoulou Eudes (Monaco/France), Franck Kessie (Milan AC/Italy), Seri Jean Michaël (Fulham/England), Doukouré Cheick (Levante/Spain) and Serge N’Guessan (Nancy/France)
Forwards: Kodjia Jonathan (Aston Villa/ England), Assale Roger (Young Boys/Swiss), Pépé Nicolas (Lille/France), Max Gradel (Toulouse/France), Bayo Vakoun (Dunajská Streda/Slovaquia) and Maxwel Cornet (Lyon/France).