Former Chelsea ace and Ivorian, Salomon Kalou has said fellow West African nation Ghana will be the biggest threat to Ivory Coast’s hopes of defending the African Cup of Nations in Gabon.
The CAF championship is set to kick-off on Saturday, with Ivory Coast looking to retain the trophy they won in 2015 in Equatorial Guinea after a penalty shoot-out victory over Ghana in the final.
The 31-year old, who’s among coach Michel Dussuyer’s selected forwards, alongside Wilfried Bony, Max Gradel, Jonathan Kodjia, Nicolas Pepe, Giovanni Sio and Wilfried Zaha, is expectant of a great display from his side but would not undermine the fact that there’d be a strong competition from the Black Stars of Ghana.
He told Omnisport on Tuesday: “Ghana will be our biggest threat. They always will be, they’re our neighbours.
“We are cool with them but we have competition with them. It’s fun to play against them. I think they will be in the semi-final.
“Of course, people expect us to do well because we’re the defending champions. I think people expect us to at least reach the semis.
“When you’ve won it once you want to win it more. We have the right mentality and good dynamic because we haven’t lost for a long time.
“Since we won the cup we haven’t lost a game. So, we want to continue that for as long as possible because the mentality is high,” Kalou, who currently plays for Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga, said.
Kalou’s Ivory Coast falls in Group C of the AFCON 2017, alongside DR Congo, Morocco and Togo. And their first group tie – the beginning of their title retention bid – will be against Togo on Monday, January 16.
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