Lamouchi rings changes for Nigeria clash
Ivory Coast boss Sabri Lamouchi has included striker Didier Drogba and current African Footballer of the Year Yaya Toure in his starting lineup ahead of the Elephants' Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) quarterfinal encounter with Nigeria at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Phokeng, near Rustenburg on Sunday.
In all, Lamouchi made eight changes to the starting lineup that did duty in Ivory Coast's 2-2 draw with Algeria last week – the last group stage fixture of the tournament.
Having already qualified top of the group ahead of the Algeria clash, Lamouchi fielded a weakened starting XI, with an eye on the latter stages of the tournament.
Goalkeeper Boubacar Barry replaces second choice Daniel Yeboah.
In defence, Sol Bamba, Siaka Tiene and Emmanuel Eboue are back in the starting XI.
In midfield, Didier Zokora, Yaya Toure and Cheick Tioté reclaim their places, with Salomon Kalou and Romaric keeping their spots in the starting line-up.
Up front, Arsenal winger Gervinho – who has impressed with two tournament goals – starts, while former Chelsea ace Drogba retains his position, after scoring his first goal of the tournament against Algeria earlier in the week.
Meanwhile, Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi made two changes to his side that beat Ethiopia 2-0 in their final group C fixture.
Keshi is without midfielder Fegor Ogude – suspended for picking up two yellow cards in the group stage – replacing the talisman with Ogenyi Onazi.
The only other change saw Ikechukwu Uche make way for Aide Ideye.
Keshi opted not to start veteran defender Joseph Yobo, leaving the former Everton hardman on the bench.
Yobo was named in Nigeria's starting lineup for their opening group C clash against Burkina Faso, before missing out on the second game in the group against Zambia, and was brought on by Keshi for the last seven minutes of their final group game against Ethiopia.
Ivory Coast team: Boubacar Barry, Siaka Tiene, Sol Bamba, Emmanuel Eboue, Romaric, Cheick Tioté, Didier Zokora, Yaya Toure, Salomon Kalou, Gervinho, Didier Drogba (capt).
Replacements: Daniel Yeboah, Badra Ali Sangare, Arthur Boka, Kolo Toure, Ismaël Traoré, Igor Lolo, Didier Ya Konan, Abdul Razak, Arouna Koné, Max Gradel, Wilfried Bony, Lacina Traore.
Nigeria team: Vincent Enyeama (capt), Efe Ambrose, Kenneth Omeruo, Godfrey Oboabona, Elderson Echiejile, John Obi Mikel, Ogenyi Onazi, Victor Moses, Sunday Mba, Ideye Aide Brown, Emmanuel Emenike.
Replacements: Austin Ejide, Chigozie Agbim, Joseph Yobo, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Juwon Oshaniwa, Nwankwo Obiorah, Reuben Gabriel, Ejike Uzoenyi, Nosa Igiebor, Ahmed Musa, Ikechukwu Uche.
Suspended: Fegor Ogude.