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Football | Afcon

Ivory Coast are hot favourites - Martial

The only coach to have won the Africa Nations Cup with Ivory Coast, Yeo Martial, says the time has come for the Elephants to lift the trophy again.

“The time has come for Ivory Coast to break the spiral of failure and to win their second title.

“The fact that they are always the best nation on the continent and are featured amongst the fifteen strongest in the world means they are favourites now (in 2013),” said Yeo Martial.

The Elephants have mostly struggled at the Cup of Nations despite having such a talented group of players.

They have come agonisingly close twice, losing in penalty shootouts to hosts Egypt in Cairo seven years ago and to Zambia in Libreville last year.

Ivory Coast have drawn Togo and two dangerous northern African sides, Tunisia and Algeria, in what is referred to as the Group of Death.

After the failure at the African Cup in Angola in 2010 and a first round exit at the Fifa World Cup that same year, Ivory Coast turned to former international Francois Zahoui to coach the squad after a string of foreign managers.

This appeared to be the right decision as they have produced a perfect qualifying campaign ahead of this event, before coach Sabri Lamouchi took over the job in May 2012.

But another failure would almost certainly be a bigger shock than the previous ones. Hopefully this team has learnt from their failures and are in South Africa to lift the title.


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