On Saturday, the Elephant of Côte d’Ivoire set their sight to kick off their 25th appearance as host of the Africa Cup of Nations in four decades on a positive footing.
Ivory Coast have been African champions twice before, most recently in 2015 with a team captained by Yaya Toure, but this time, they’ll be hoping to thrive under the pressure of playing at home.
Saturday’s encounter will be the first encounter between Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations.
Elephants coach Jean-Louis Gasset will rely on their star forward Sebastien Haller against minnows Guinea-Bissau at the newly-built Ebimpe Olympic Stadium at kickoff 20:00 hrs.
“We feel the expectation every day but we just need to live with it,” Elephants coach Jean-Louis Gasset, the 70-year-old Frenchman, told reporters in the country’s economic capital Abidjan on Friday.
“My job is to transform the pressure into something positive, to make sure that gives the players strength and confidence.”
The Djurtus of Guinea-Bissau are ready for their fourth continental showpiece after making their debut in 2017, six years as they finished bottom of their group in each of their three previous participations, with a total of three draws and six defeats.
#TotalEnergiesAFCON2023 Match Day 1 schedule 📆 first kickoff time 20:00 hrs— #AFCON2023WithBittar (@bittar32) January 13, 2024
Let the Game begin as hosts @FIFCI_tweet eye a positive start #AFCON2023 #AFCON2023WithBittar #SaloneX pic.twitter.com/SIWwczGUKD