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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Ivory Coast calls in strong team for friendlies against Burundi and Burkina Faso

Les Éléphants will have plenty of veteran stars and young talents attempting to make an impression when the Ivory Coast national team takes on Burundi and neighbors Burkina Faso in friendly matches on November 16 and 19 in Morocco. Manager Jean-Louis Gasset called up veteran leaders such as defender Serge Aurier and midfielder Jean Michaël Seri as well as attackers Max Gradel and Wilfried Zaha. The Elephants will be preparing for 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches next year where they are currently at the top of Group H with four points in a group that includes Zambia, Comoros and Lesotho.

Gasset will have an opportunity to see young talents as well who are building their reputations in European football. Defenders Wilfried Singo of Italy’s Torino and Abakar Sylla of Club Brugge will be eager to gain more experience with the senior national team following strong starts to their club seasons. 19-year-old David Datro Fofana is in the squad after winning Norway’s Eliteserien with Molde, scoring 19 goals in 35 appearances this season across all competitions.

Franck Kessié is a notable absence after suffering an injury at FC Barcelona but Seko Fofana will be available after a heroic return to the Elephants team with a goal in each of Ivory Coast’s two previous friendly victories against Togo and Guinea.

The full list from Gasset is below.

Goalkeepers: Badra Ali Sangaré (Sekhukhune United, South Africa), Ira Eliezer Tapé (Bahir Dar Kenema, Ethiopia), Issa Fofana (Al-Hilal Omdurman, Sudan)

Defenders: Serge Aurier (Nottingham Forest, England), Wilfried Singo (Torino, Italy), Sinaly Diomandé (Lyon, France), Simon Déli (Adana Demirspor, Turkey), Odilon Kossounou (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Abakar Sylla (Club Brugge, Belgium), Souleyman Doumbia (Angers, France), Ghislain Konan (Al-Nassr, Saudi Arabia)

Midfielders: Jean Michaël Seri (Hull City, England), Ibrahim Sangaré (PSV Eindhoven, The Netherlands), Seko Fofana (Lens, France), Jean-Eudes Ahoulou (Strasbourg, France), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Trabzonspor, Turkey)

Forwards: Max Gradel (Sivasspor, Turkey), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace, England), Jean Evrard Kouassi (Trabzonspor, Turkey), Nicolas Pépé (Nice, France), David Datro Fofana (Molde, Norway), Karim Konaté (FC Liefering, Austria), Christian Kouamé (Fiorentina, Italy), Jean-Philippe Krasso (Saint-Étienne, France)