Ivory Coast face modest start to Nations Cup campaign
Malabo: Highly-fancied Ivory Coast should have a comfortable start to their African Nations Cup campaign in Malabo on Sunday against a Sudan side looking to chalk up their first win at the finals since 1970.
The Ivorians, led by Didier Drogba and hoping to atone for failures in recent editions of the tournament where they have also started as favourites but fallen short, open Group B against Sudan whose last victory came 42 years ago.
A 1-0 victory over Ghana in the final on home soil ensured Sudan’s only tournament success but in three finals appearances since they have failed to post a win.
Angola and Burkina Faso play in Sunday’s second Group B encounter, both aware they need success in their opening game to have any realistic chance of progressing past the first round.
Burkina Faso were struggling with the fitness of key striker Alain Traore on the eve of the match while Angola were awaiting FIFA clearance to field former German under-21 international Nando Rafael, who applied to switch allegiance only last week.
Sunday’s matches in the Equatorial Guinea capital follow a dramatic start to the tournament in Bata where the co-hosts beat Libya 1-0 in the opening match on Saturday followed by a 2-1 triumph for Zambia over Group A favourites Senegal.