Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Ivorians needing ingenuity to spark World Cup glory

7 games, 22 goals and 1 horrific tragedy the 27th Africa Cup of Nations has already left its scar upon a troubled host nation and the football community worldwide, on the pitch one harsh lesson has beenlearned from the first round of fixtures. Africa's wait for a World Champion is likely to continue

After all the hullabaloo over the possibility of an African winner this summer the four qualifiers that took to the field in the first round of fixtures failed to register a win between them, three lost and only one even managed a goal.

The Ivory Coast, Africa's most fancied and popular pick to succeed in Angola and South Africa again demonstrated their inability to perform on the big stage with a 0-0 stalemate against minnows Burkina Faso. The Elephants lineup and performance on monday demonstrated their obvious strenghts and one patent deficiency in equal measure. A first 11 boasting both Toure brothers, Emmanuel Eboue, Didier Zokora and Didier Drogba has the strong spine always essential to go far in any international tournament but against a stout Burkina Faso their lack of a significant creative force was laid bare. The Elephants squad boats a number of second strikers in Solomann Kalou, Aruna Dindane and Aruna Kone who have all scored goals in second rate European leagues but as yet have failed to prove themselves at the top level in Europe or on the International stage. Drogba’s current strike partner Gervinho has so far had a fine season with Lille but needs more time to develop into a top class striker.

On the bright side the Ivorians tough World Cup draw may benefit them. Unlike the way in which Burkina Faso approached their encounter this week, Brazil and Portugal will take the game to the Ivorians allowing the Elehpants to utilise their pace on the conuter attack.

It is still to early to judge how the Elephants will fare come June but they will certainly need to be more ruthless in their showdown against West African neighbours and fellow qualifiers Ghana on friday to prevail in Angola.

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