Ivory Coast balance fitness with rest before World Cup

Dallas: Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi said he was treading a fine line in his World Cup preparations as he caters for players fatigued by their club seasons and those short of playing time.

"We have many players at different levels of physical fitness," said Lamouchi in Dallas where the Ivorians are holding their pre-World Cup training camp.

"We have players like Kolo Toure (of Liverpool) and (Turkish-based defender) Souleyman Bamba who have played little.

"There are others too who have not had much game time at their clubs, either because of injury or because of a lack of confidence in them from their coaches.

"We have to give them opportunity. On the other hand, we have to allow those who have had a long season time to recover.

"Players like (Salomon) Kalou, Gervinho and (Wilfried) Bony have had long seasons," he added in an interview published on the Ivorian Football Federation website (www.fif-ci.com).

"The idea is to get to a level of consistency in our fitness after our first week of training and before, or just after, the match against Bosnia. We want the players as close as possible to a 100 percent capacity," Lamouchi said.

The Ivorians play the first of two warm-up friendlies in the U.S. against Bosnia and Herzegovina in St Louis on May 30, followed by a clash with El Salvador in Dallas on June 4. They will arrive in Brazil on June 6.

At the World Cup, the Ivorians have been drawn in Group C and compete against Colombia, Greece and Japan.

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