Ivory Coast begin their pursuit for a third Africa Cup of Nations trophy when they take on Guinea-Bissau in the tournament’s opening game at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium on Saturday.
While the Djurtus aim to get past the group stage for the first time, the tournament hosts are the clear favorites to win Group A.
Despite being guaranteed a spot in the championships, the West African team participated in the qualifying round, finishing in second place after tying Zambia on 13 points after winning four of their six games (losing one).
Ivory Coast has experience in the group stage having advanced from that stage in eight of their previous nine Cup of Nations matches. They aim to increase their chances of making it nine in ten by doing well against Guinea-Bissau.
In their tune-up match, Gasset’s team dominated Sierra Leone, winning 5-1 over the Leone Stars last weekend. They impressed with their decisive play in the last part of the game.
It’s anyone’s guess whether they can maintain that form into Saturday’s AFCON opener against Guinea-Bissau in front of the eager home crowd, but the Elephants’ goal-scoring record at least offers them cause for optimism.