Holders need vast improvement at Nations Cup

Ivory Coast's players attend a training session. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol


LIBREVILLE (Reuters) – Holders Ivory Coast will be looking for a vastly improved performance at the African Nations Cup when they meet the Democratic Republic of Congo in Oyem on Friday.

The talented Ivorian squad found the going tough against Togo in their opening Group C game on Monday and a goalless draw represented a tepid start to the tournament.

“We did not mix all the ingredients to claim more than a draw. It will be necessary to approach this very important match (against DR Congo) with a more conquering mindset,” their coach Michel Dussuyer told a news conference on Thursday.

The Congolese, looking for their first Nations Cup success since 1974, top the Group C standings after beating Morocco 1-0 in their opener, albeit without dominating the game.

It was a blow for Morocco, who are looking to end their long drought since their single trophy success in 1976 and prised their coach Herve Renard away from the Ivorians, after he led them to Nations Cup glory in 2015.

Morocco face Togo in the second Group C game in Oyem and another defeat could end Renard’s hopes of a Nations Cup hat-trick, after he also won in 2012 with Zambia.

“Against Togo, there will not be a great revolution (in the team selection). It is necessary to dissociate the performance from the result. The content was good, the result was bad,” Renard said of their opening defeat.

On Thursday, Senegal became the first side to secure a quarter-final spot by beating Zimbabwe 2-0 in Franceville in Group B. Another of the pre-tournament favourites Algeria, however, were beaten 2-1 by Tunisia and are on the brink of an early elimination.

(Editing by Toby Davis)


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