Ivory Coast names squad, Ghana sweats over Gyan
Ivory Cost included Didier Drogba, Kolo Toure and Yaya Toure in its final squad for the African Cup of Nations on Wednesday after coach Francois Zahoui sprang no surprises. Ghana, however, is still waiting on the fitness of star striker Asamoah Gyan.
Zahoui named his 23-man selection in United Arab Emirates, where the Ivorians are in camp, to meet the Wednesday deadline set by the Confederation of African Football.
Also included as expected were Arsenal forward Gervinho, midfielders Cheick Tiote of Newcastle and Hannover's Didier Ya Konan and Drogba's Chelsea teammate, Salomon Kalou.
Goalkeeper Kone Ibrahim of French club Boulogne and Russia-based midfielder Marco Ne were the two players from Ivory Coast's initial training squad which traveled to the UAE who didn't make the cut.
As Africa's top-ranked team, Ivory Coast is the favorite to claim its first continental title in 20 years. The Elephants are in Group B with Angola, Burkina Faso and Sudan at the tournament co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Gyan, meanwhile, has joined Ghana at its training camp in South Africa but the 26-year-old forward, the country's star at the 2010 World Cup, is in doubt for the tournament with a hamstring injury.
The Ghana Football Association said Gyan ''has made progress in his recovery,'' but his fitness is still doubtful enough for Black Stars coach Goran Stevanovic to wait until the last possible moment to announce his final squad.
Ghana has until midnight GMT to send its final squad selection to CAF ahead of the tournament kickoff on Jan. 21. Ghana begins its African Cup campaign against debutant Botswana on Jan. 24.
Defender Herve Zengue was left out of Burkina Faso's final squad hours after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in favor of the Cameroon-born player's eligibility to play for his adopted country.
Sport's highest court said on Tuesday that Burkina Faso could play in the African Cup and dismissed an appeal by qualifying rival Namibia over Zengue's eligibility.
However, Portuguese coach Paulo Duarte left Zengue and Ivory Coast-born defender Stephane Agbre off his final list.
Burkina Faso is likely to pin much of its hopes on midfielders Alain Traore of Auxerre and Jonathan Pitroipa of Rennes.
Ivory Coast squad:
Goalkeepers: Boubacar Barry (Lokeren), Gerard Gnanhouan (Avranches), Daniel Yeboah (Dijon).
Defenders: Benjamin Angoua (Valenciennes), Souleymane Bamba (Leicester), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart), Emmanuel Eboue (Galatasaray), Igor Lolo (Kuban Krasnodar), Siaka Tiene (Paris Saint-Germain), Kolo Toure (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Kafoumba Coulibaly (Nice), Jean-Jacques Gosso Gosso (Orduspor), Max Gradel (Saint-Etienne), Didier Ya Konan (Hannover), Cheick Tiote (Newcastle), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Didier Zokora (Tabzonspor).
Forwards: Wilfried Bony (Vitesse Arnhem), Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow), Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Gervinho (Arsenal), Salomon Kalou (Chelsea), Kader Keita (Al Sadd).