Ivory Coast vs South Africa
Mon, 24-Jun-19 | 17:30
- Aside from Manchester United defender Eric Bailly, who failed to make the squad due to a knee ligament injury, the 2015 champions have no injury concerns coming into the clash with South Africa in their Group D opener.
- The likes of Nicolas Pepe and Wilfred Zaha are expected to hit the ground running as the Ivorians seek a perfect start.
- South Africa coach Stuart Baxter is expected to adopt a cautious approach, being the underdog in this game.
- He will be hopeful of a positive result with Percy Tau, who claimed the Proximus League Player of the Season award in Belgium after scoring 10 goals and assisting 11 in 33 matches, leading the attack.
- Ivory Coast, since winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015, have experienced a dip in form. They bundled out in the Group stage of the 2017 edition and they also failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, due to an ageing squad.
- But with plenty of young talent in the squad this year, they are confident of going all the way and will be eager for a winning start against South Africa, who didn't enjoy the best of preparation ahead of the tournament.
- They played just one friendly match, against Ghana which ended 0-0, of their proposed three.