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Ivory Coast will do everything to win

Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi says his only objective is to return home with Africa Cup of Nations trophy.

After penalty heartbreak in 2012 final against Zambia nothing less than victory will be good enough for The Elephants this time around.

Their campaign begins on Tuesday against Togo, who are boosted by the return of star man Emmanuel Adebayor.

“The question is not that it’s my first AFCON, the question is: is the Ivory Coast team able to win the AFCON this time? You know it better than me, Ivory Coast was the favourite several times,” he said.

“It’s not important to know if Sabri Lamouchi will win his first AFCON, or if Lacina Traore, playing the AFCON for the first time, will be good.

“What matters to us is that the Ivory Coast will try to reach its objective. The objective is simple, it’s to do everything to bring the cup back to Abidjan.

“Saying ‘we’ll do it’ would be lying. Saying ‘we’ll do everything do it’ it’s our objective.”

Meanwhile, Togo coach Didier Six believes Adebayor, who has come out of a self-imposed international retirement, will be crucial to his team’s chances of beating Ivory Coast.

“Emanuel Adebayor is the one who finishes the attacks, he scores goals. He also brought trust to some players, they improved their performance when he came,” he said.

“But I repeat, some players were there before, like Serge Akakpo or Dare Nibombe, they gave us the qualification. It’s good to have him with us, it’s fantastic. But he knows that you don’t build a team with one player, you need at least 11 men.”

It is the first time the Sparrow Hawks have reached the tournament since they withdrew in 2010 following a rebel attack in host country Angola, but centre back Serge Akakpo says they have recovered from the tragedy.

“It’s true that what happened three years ago slowed us and saddened us but then we moved on. And I think that this qualification to the AFCON 2013 shows that we improved and we moved on,” he said.

“I believe that the motivation is natural, every football player wants to play the AFCON. In Africa it’s the biggest tournament so we are motivated.”

Tue 22 January, 2013
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