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Bafana Opponents Ivory Coast Name AFCON Squad

Ivory Coast, who will face Bafana Bafana in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations opener, have included a shock unattached forward and a player who was relegated from the Absa Premiership this season in their preliminary squad for the tournament.

Click through the mini-gallery above to see some big names who are not in Ivory Coast's latest squad.

Elephants coach Ibrahim Kamara named 27 players in his provisional squad for the competition, and included former Manchester City and Swansea striker Wilfried Bony, who last represented his country in January 2017.

The 30-year-old is currently without a club after being released by the Swans following a loan stint with Al Arabi. He now has a chance to convince the coach of his qualities before the tactician cuts four names from his preliminary squad.

Goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare, who was relegated with Free State Stars, also made the selection along with three other shot-stoppers, and one of them is likely to be dropped for the final AFCON squad.

Watch: Baxter On Why Lebogang Phiri Was Excluded From AFCON

The standout names in the squad are LOSC Lille forward Nicolas Pepe, who was included in the Ligue 1 Team of the Season, Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, AC Milan's Franck Kessie and Tottenham Hotspur right-back Serge Aurier.

The two-time winners will open their tournament in Egypt against Stuart Baxter's side on 24 June, before facing Morocco and Namibia in Group D.

Here is Ivory Coast's preliminary AFCON squad in full, as confirmed by the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF):

Goalkeepers: Sylvain Gbohouo (TP Mazembe), Abdoul Cisse (Asec Mimosas), Ali Badra (Free State Stars), Tape Ira (FC San Pedro)

Defenders: Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur), Wilfried Kanon (ADO Den Haag), Wonlo Coulibaly (Asec Mimosas), Abdoulaye Bamba (Angers), Simon Deli (Slavia Prague), Ismael Traore (Angers), Mamadou Bagayoko (Red Star), Cheikh Comara (Wydad Casablanca)

Midfielders: Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Mainz), Serey Die (Neuchatel Xamax), Jean-Michael Seri (Fulham), Victorian Angban (Metz), Franck Kessie (AC Milan), Ibrahim Sangare (Toulouse), Ismael Diomande (Caen)

Forwards: Max-Alain Gradel (Toulouse), Nicolas Pepe (Lille), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa), Roger Assale (Young Boys Bern), Maxwel Cornet (Lyon), Yohan Boli (Sint-Truiden), Wilfried Bony (unattached)

Read: Bafana's AFCON Prep Squad Announced

Injured Manchester United defender Eric Bailly will miss the tournament after suffering ligament damage in April, while ageing forwards Gervinho and Salomon Kalou were not called up.

Do you think Bafana can beat Ivory Coast and qualify ahead of them for AFCON 2019's knockout stages? Have your say in the comments section below.

 

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