Last hurrah for these elephants

If the outcome of the Africa Cup of Nations was decided on paper, based on star power, there is no question that Côte d'Ivoire would be the African champions of 2013. Games, however, have to be played

, but there can be no question that the Elephants are the favourites to lift their first Afcon title in 20 years in South Africa.
 
In a recent interview with Fifa.com, coach Sabri Lamouchi said: "We accept our status as favourites. When I was appointed in May to coach the Elephants, I was perfectly aware of the level of this team. It has great strength, with players who have won a lot with their clubs."
 
Two of those players, striker Didier Drogba and midfielder Yaya Toure, were among the list of five players nominated for the Best African Player Award.
 
At the age of 34, Drogba remains a handful for defenders. In May, he was man of the match in Chelsea's victory over Bayern Munich in the 2012 Uefa Champions League final. He now plys his tarde with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.
 
Yaya, the 29-year-old younger brother of defender Kolo Toure, was, meanwhile, a key player for Manchester City as the club captured the English Premier League title in 2011/12, winning England's leading league for the first time since 1967/68. Toure is a commanding presence in the midfield and is also a goal-scoring threat.
 
Arsenal's Gervinho gives the Ivorians another striker who has experience of playing in the very tough English Premier League. He is not a prolific striker like Drogba, but is a fine player to play off of.
 
Salomon Kalou, who previously played with Drogba at Chelsea, now campaigns for Lille in France, and offers another excellent striking option. He is also a very effective performer on the flanks.
 
Other names familiar to football followers will be Emmanuel Eboué, Didier Zokora, and Siaka Tiéne - players who would be the biggest names in many other teams.
 
The only real question surrounding the Elephants is whether or not the teamÂ’s age - it is the oldest squad in the Afcon tournament - will catch up with it.
 
Coach Lamouchi told Fifa.com: "It's true even though the team has everything it needs to do so (win Afcon 2013). Somehow, it has been a waste, and if this generation would never win anything, it would be a huge waste. So to win the Africa Cup of Nations is our ambition, and I know my players are capable of it. They must take ownership of this project. For some of them, this is probably their last chance to win this competition. I believe in this group."

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