Ivory Coast anxious to get started - coach

20 January 2013 07:16

Ivory Coast are eager to get their quest for a long awaited Africa Cup of Nations title up and running, coach Sabri Lamouchi said Sunday.

The continent's top-ranked team are desperate to live up to their tag of favourites, something they have failed to do in the last four Nations Cups.

Their bid to erase agonising penalty shoot-out defeats in the finals of 2006 and 2012 to Egypt and Zambia starts in this north-western mining town Tuesday against Group D lightweights Togo.

Lamouchi revealed: "We can't wait to get going, we're preparing for that.

"There's a bit of the good kind of pressure. Even if we appear calm, we are working daily.

"We know there is an expectation for the players at the tournament, the last victory dates back 20 years, and since then they've suffered some hard defeats."

The French coach explained the reason behind only giving his side one warm-up match, a 4-2 win in Abu Dhabi over multiple champions but non-qualifiers Egypt.

"In our short 10-day preparation we couldn't fit in two games because when the players joined up with my squad I didn't know what their level of fitness was like."

On the warm-up against Egypt, he said: "We didn't play great even if we improved in the second half, but there are things to target in the very laboured first half."

After Togo, captain Didier Drogba and company face stern Maghreb opposition in the shape of Tunisia and Algeria.

Source: AFP