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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Equatorial Guinea vs Ivory Coast Preview - Kick-off time, TV channel, squad news

6:02 AM EST 1/12/22
Nicolas Pepe Ivory Coast
The Elephants will kick off their campaign with a game against the Nzalang Nacional at Japoma Stadium on Wednesday

Ivory Coast will begin their hunt to win the Africa Cup of Nations title with a Group E opener against Equatorial Guinea at Japoma Stadium in Cameroon on Wednesday.

The Elephants will be making their eighth consecutive appearance in the competition and will come up against the Nzalang Nacional side, who are making their third appearance after six years in the cold.

Equatorial Guinea last participated in the 2015 edition, when they hosted the event but finished in fourth place, being the country’s best international participation to date that helped them to reach a historical 49th position on the Fifa rankings.

Ivory Coast made it to the 33rd edition in Cameroon from a qualification group that also comprised of Niger, Madagascar, and Ethiopia. They managed to top the pool with 13 points from six matches and qualified alongside second-placed Ethiopia, who managed nine points from six outings.

Meanwhile, Nzalang Nacional ended their six-year absence after qualifying from a group that consisted of Tunisia, Libya, Tanzania.

They managed three wins and three defeats to finish second on nine points and qualify alongside winners Tunisia, who accumulated 16 points from six matches.

GameIvory Coast vs Equatorial Guinea
DateWednesday, January 12
Time21:00 SA Time - (19:00 GMT)

TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch

Online StreamingTV Channel
DStv.com/DStv Now App https://www.showmax.com/eng/welcome/zaSuperSport TV's PSL channel 202/SuperSport TV's Variety 3 channel 208

Squads & Team News

Equatorial Guinea have no injury or Covid-19 related concerns ahead of the fixture.

Assistant coach Castro Nopo has sent a strong warning to their opponents that they are not afraid of anyone.

“We are not afraid of any team. We are like the other 23 teams here and we will defend our chances,” Nopo said as quoted by CafOnline ahead of the fixture.

“Cote d’Ivoire is a great team, but the last time we played against them it was a 1-1 draw. This Afcon will be very special for everyone. It's a great competition and just because we're going to play the tournament outside our country doesn't mean we don't have ambitions.”

Meanwhile, Ivory Coast will miss the services of first-choice goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo after he was banned by Fifa for allegedly violating doping rules.

The Elephants coach Patrice Beaumelle is. however, confident of getting a win.

“In Cote d’Ivoire, we go for win in each game. Equatorial Guinea are always a difficult team to play against,” Beaumelle said. “The team is motivated to do well in this competition. All the players are ready and we have no excuses.”

Match Preview

The only previous encounter between the two sides in the competition was in the quarter-finals of the 2012 tournament when Ivory Coast won 3-0.

This will be Equatorial Guinea’s third appearance at Afcon, but it’s the first time they have qualified as non-hosts. They have so far always reached the knockout stage (quarter-finalists in 2012, 4th place in 2015).

For Ivory Coast, they will be making their 24th appearance, a tally only bettered by Egypt (25). They’ve won the tournament twice (1992 and 2015) and progressed to the knockout stage in seven of their last eight appearances.

Ivory Coast have only lost two of their last 20 group games (W12 D6), both against Morocco in 2017 and 2019 but their last defeat in an opening match was the 2-0 defeat against Ghana in 1996.