Cote D’Ivoire coach Michel Dussuyer has named his squad for the upcoming 2017 AFCON, with a 24-man team set to defend their Nations Cup title in Gabon.
Stoke City striker Wilfried Bony and Crystal Palace attacker Wilfried Zaha have been included in the list of attacking players set to feature in the tournament that begins on January 14.
Zaha recently made the decision to switch international allegiance from England to Cote D’Ivoire, submitting an application to FIFA in order to represent the Elephants on the international stage.
The 24-year-old winger was born in Abidjan but moved to the UK when he was only 4, growing up in the country and eventually representing the English national team.
He earned two caps for the side in 2013, but because both appearances as a substitute came in friendly matches and not competitive encounters, he is able to confirm a switch to his country of birth, and will be able to take part at the 2017 AFCON.
The presence of Bony, Zaha and others such as Max Gradel and Salomon Kalou in the squad has become even more important considering the absence of star player Gervinho.
The winger ruptured the cruciate ligament in his knee during a training session with his Chinese Super League side Hebei Fortune, and will not take part in his national team’s defence of the title.
On a positive note the Elephants welcome back Manchester United defender Eric Bailly, who suffered a knee injury in English Premier League action at the end of October, and was out of action for two months.
He has returned to full fitness with his club and will be ready to play an important role for the West Africans come the competition.
Bailly’s return is a big boost for the team, and he will likely feature alongside Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier at the back for the Elephants.
Cote d’Ivoire have been drawn in Nations Cup Group D alongside Togo, Morocco and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Elephants begin their title defence with an encounter against Togo on Monday, January 16.
Goalkeepers: Sylvain Gbohouo (Mazembe/DRC), Mande Sayouba (Stabaek/NOR), Ali Badra Sangaré (Tanda/CIV)
Defenders: Eric Bailly (Manchester United/ENG), Serge Aurier (PSG/FRA), Simon Deli (Slavia Prague/CZE), Ousmane Viera Diarrassouba (Adanaspor/TUR), Wilfried Kanon (The Hague/NED), Lamine Koné (Sunderland/ENG), Adama Traoré (Basle/SUI), Bagayoko Mamadou (Saint Truiden/BEL)
Midfielders: Geoffrey Serey Dié (Basle/SUI), Victorien Angban(Grenada/ESP), Cheick Doukouré (Metz/FRA), Franck Kessié (Bergamo/ITA), Yao Serge N’Guessan (Nancy/FRA), Jean-Michaël Séri (Nice/FRA)
Forwards: Wilfried Bony (Stoke City/ENG), Max-Alain Gradel (Bournemouth/ENG), Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa/ENG), Giovanni Sio (Rennes/FRA), Salomon Kalou (Hertha Berlin/GER), Nicolas Pépé (Angers/FRA), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace/ENG)