ivory coast team.jpgWith 28 days remaining until the World Cup roars into life ZBC News Department begin the countdown of world football’s biggest showpiece by profiling Ivory Coast popularly known as The Elephants.

Among the teams the African continent will be pinning their hopes on, will be the Ivory Coast when the 2010 Fifa World Cup roars into life in South Africa next month.

 Boasting of players such as golden boot winner in the English Premier League, Didier Drogba, Solomon Kalou, Arouna Dindane, Kolo and Yaya Toure just to name a few, the Elephants as Ivory coast is popularly known, though dark horses in a group comprising giants Brazil, Portugal and Korea will be looking to cause some upsets and possibly progress to the second round of the World Cup.

 

 Côte d’Ivoire was the only nation to name a 23-man World Cup squad during the 2006 campaign comprised entirely of players who play their club football outside their home country.

The Côte d’Ivoire team is notable for having participated in (and won) the two highest-scoring penalty shoot-outs in international football competition – the 24-shot shoot-out in the final of the 1992 African Cup of Nations when Ghana was defeated 11–10, and the 24-shot shoot-out in the quarter-final of the 2006 African Cup of Nations, when Cameroon was defeated 12–11.

After Uli Stielike left before the Africa Cup 2008, due to his son’s health situation, Gerard Gili, the co-trainer, took his position. To compensate for the lack of another co-coach, Didier Drogba acted as a “players trainer” (player and a coach). This was only the second time that a player had also acted as coach in the Africa Cup, after George Weah was both player and coach for Liberia during the 2002 tournament.

Côte d’Ivoire is the only team to have never been shut out in any World Cup match. The team scored in all three games of their 2006 World Cup campaign, against Argentina, the Netherlands, and Serbia and Montenegro.

Having faltered on the first hurdle in their maiden World Cup appearance in Germany in 2006, an expectant Ivory Coast having learnt one or two lessons from their German campaign in which they lost to Argentina and Netherlands before beating Serbia and Montenegro, will have to be at their best when they clash with Portugal and mighty Brazil before capping off their group games with an encounter with Korea.

The Elephants African Nations Cup triumph in 1992 which saw them dispatching Ghana in the finals, will rank as Ivory coasts most notable achievement to date, therefore making it interesting to see whether the Elephants can for the first time get past the group stages and possibly break the jinx which has seen Africa failing to have a side storming into the semi-finals of the competition. 
Swedish born Coach Sven Goran Eriksson recently announced the 30 man provisional squad for this year’s World Cup:
No. Pos. Player DoB (Age) Caps Goals Club
 GK
Boubacar Barry
30 December 1979 (aged 30) 42 0 KSC Lokeren

 GK
Aristide Zogbo
30 December 1981 (aged 28) 6 0 Maccabi Netanya

 GK
Gérard Gnanhouan
12 February 1979 (aged 31) 7 0 Vannes

 GK
Vincent Angban
2 February 1985 (aged 25) 2 0 ASEC Mimosas

 DF
Arthur Boka
2 April 1983 (aged 27) 54 1 VfB Stuttgart
 
 DF
Steve Gohouri
8 February 1981 (aged 29) 11 3 Wigan Athletic
 
 DF
Guy Demel
13 June 1981 (aged 28) 20 0 Hamburger SV
 
 DF
Emmanuel Eboué
4 June 1983 (aged 26) 50 1 Arsenal
 
 DF
Kolo Touré
19 March 1981 (aged 29) 76 2 Manchester City
 
 DF
Sol Bamba
13 January 1985 (aged 25) 16 1 Hibernian
 
 DF
Abdoulaye Méïté
6 October 1980 (aged 29) 48 1 West Bromwich Albion
 
 DF
Benjamin Angoua
28 November 1986 (aged 23) 7 1 Valenciennes
 
 DF
Siaka Tiéné
22 March 1982 (aged 28) 52 2 Valenciennes
 

 MF
Didier Zokora
14 December 1980 (aged 29) 78 1 Sevilla
 
 MF
Yaya Touré
13 May 1983 (aged 26) 45 5 Barcelona
 
 MF
Gilles Yapi Yapo
30 January 1982 (aged 28) 46 2 BSC Young Boys
 
 MF
Didier Konan Ya
25 February 1984 (aged 26) 3 0 Hannover 96
 
 MF
Romaric
4 June 1983 (aged 26) 38 2 Sevilla
 
 MF
Emerse Faé
24 January 1984 (aged 26) 37 1 Nice
 
 MF
Cheick Tioté
21 June 1986 (aged 23) 8 0 Twente
 
 MF
Emmanuel Koné
31 December 1986 (aged 23) 12 0 CFR Cluj
 
 MF
Jean-Jacques Gosso
15 March 1983 (aged 27) 6 0 AS Monaco FC
 
 MF
Abdul Kader Keïta
6 August 1981 (aged 28) 53 11 Galatasaray
 
 MF
Gervinho
27 May 1987 (aged 22) 13 4 Lille
 

 FW
Didier Drogba
11 March 1978 (aged 32) 66 43 Chelsea
 
 FW
Salomon Kalou
5 August 1985 (aged 24) 27 11 Chelsea
 
 FW
Aruna Dindane
26 November 1980 (aged 29) 54 16 Lens
 
 FW
Arouna Koné
11 November 1983 (aged 26) 34 9 Sevilla
 
 FW
Seydou Doumbia
31 December 1987 (aged 22) 5 2 CSKA Moscow
 

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No. Pos. Player DoB (Age) Caps Goals Club
 GK
Ibrahim Koné
December 5, 1989  (age 20) 0 0 Boulogne

 GK
Badra Ali Sangaré
May 30, 1986  (age 23)   Olympic Charleroi

16 GK
Stephan Loboué
August 23, 1981  (age 28) 3 0 Greuther Fürth

 GK
Stéphane Dimy (v. Tunisia on March 26) November 12, 1980  (age 29) 0 0 Africa Sports

 GK
Tiassé Koné (v. Ghana, February 9, 2009) October 17, 1987  (age 22) 1 0 Africa Sports

 DF
Igor Lolo
22 July 1982 (aged 27) 9 0 AS Monaco
 
 DF
Constant Djakpa
October 17, 1986  (age 23) 3 0 Hannover
 
 DF
Diarrasouba Viera
December 21, 1986  (age 23) 0 0 Internaţional
 
 DF
Marco Zoro
December 27, 1983  (age 26) 21 1 Benfica
 
 DF
Bakary Soro
December 5, 1985  (age 24) 0 0 Lorient
 

 MF
Cissé Abdoul Raouf Ousmane
January 28, 1989  (age 21) 23 5 Istres
 
 MF
Kanga Akalé (Friendly v. Israel, 19 November) March 7, 1981  (age 29) 33 3 Lens
 
 MF
Christian Manfredini (Friendly v. Israel, 19 November) May 1, 1975  (age 35) 1 0 Lazio
 
 MF
Felix Dja Ettien (Friendly v. Guinea, 20 August) September 26, 1979  (age 30)
6 1 Unattached
 
8 MF
Abdou Raz Traoré (WCQ v. Botswana, June 14) December 28, 1988  (age 21) 0 0 Rosenborg
 
 MF
Kafoumba Coulibaly
October 26, 1985  (age 24) 1 0 Nice
 
 MF
Thierry Doubai (v. Tunisia, March 26, 2009) June 1, 1988  (age 21) 1 0 Young Boys
 
 MF
Lionel Bah
February 2, 1980  (age 30) 4 0 FC Astra Ploieşti
 
 MF
Did’dy Guela
June 19, 1986  (age 23) 0 0 Arminia Bielefeld
 

 FW
Sekou Cissé
May 23, 1985  (age 24) 4 3 Feyenoord
 
 FW
Boubacar Sanogo
December 17, 1982  (age 27) 12 8 Saint-Étienne
 
9 FW
Kandia Traoré (WCQ v. Botswana, June 22, 2009) June 5, 1980  (age 29) 25 8 Sochaux
 
 FW
Amara Diané
August 19, 1982  (age 27) 1 1 Al-Rayyan
 
 FW
Bonaventure Kalou
January 12, 1978  (age 32) 51 12 Heerenveen
 
 FW
Guillaume Dah Zadi
June 1, 1978  (age 31) 1 0 Unattached
 
 FW
Lacina Traoré
20 May 1990 (aged 19) 0 0 CFR Cluj
 

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