Defending champions, Ivory Coast has included Crystal Palace winger, Wilfried Zaha in it’s final 23-man squad for the African Nations Cup in Gabon.
The 24-year-old represented England twice in friendlies but has now pledged his international future to the country of his birth and could make his Ivory Coast debut at the tournament in Gabon, which begins on January 14 and runs until February 5.
Zaha, who had been named in the preliminary squad last week, has now joined up with the squad in Abu Dhabi, where they have been training since January 2.
His departure had been delayed after he featured in Palace’s 2-1 loss to Swansea on January 3, when he scored his side’s only goal.
Manchester United defender, Eric Bailly, meanwhile, missed his club’s 2-0 victory over West Ham United on January 2 to join up with the training squad, despite Jose Mourinho’s request to delay his player’s departure.
Nicolas Pepe was included, but the Angers striker was given a fright as his name was initially left off the published final 23-man list.
The highly-rated 21-year-old appeared to have been the man to miss out when coach, Michel Dussuyer dropped one player from his preliminary list.
However, after an apparent communication mix-up at the Ivorian FA, Pepe’s name did eventually appear in the squad at the expense of Adanaspor’s Viera Diarrassouba.
Ivory Coast 23-man squad
Goalkeepers: Sylvain Gbohuo (TP Mazembe), Badra Sangare (AS Tanda), Mande Sayouba (Stabaek)
Defenders: Serge Aurier (PSG), Mamadou Bagayoko (St Trond VV), Eric Bailly (Manchester United), Simon Deli (Slavia Prague), Wilfried Kanon (ADO), Lamine Kone (Sunderland), Adama Traore (Basel)
Midfielders: Victorien Angban (Grenada), Cheik Doukoure (Metz), Franck Kessie (Atalanta), Yao Serge N’guessan (AS Nancy), Geoffroy Serey Die (Basel), Jean Michael Seri (Nice)
Forwards: Wilfried Bony (Stoke City), Max Gradel (Bournemouth), Salomon Kalou (Hertha Berlin), Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa), Giovanni Sio (Stade Rennes), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Nicolas Pepe (Angers)
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