The continental championship is always full of surprises, and the Ivorian legend has warned his countrymen to avoid complacency
Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has urged the Ivory Coast national team to bring their A-game to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations when facing Nigeria and other teams or face elimination, Soccernet.ng reports.
Ivory Coast will play hosts to the rest of the continent next month and will be expected to make it past a relatively easy Group A.
The Elephants have been grouped with three-time winners Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau.
Nigeria will be Ivory Coast’s biggest foes in the group, with the Super Eagles boasting the best attack in Africa that is led by newly crowned Player of the Year, Victor Osimhen.
Aside from Osimhen, Nigeria have named in their provisional tournament roster strikers excelling in Germany, Italy, France, England, and Spain, making the Super Eagles a tough hurdle any day.
Equatorial Guinea could be another tricky opponent, though. The National Thunder have only qualified for the AFCON on four occasions, but they have made a huge impact, finishing in fourth place in 2015 and reaching the quarter-finals in 2012 and 2021.
Guinea-Bissau have never made it past the group stage at the AFCON, but the Djurtus, who beat Nigeria 1-0 in Abuja during the qualifiers, can pull an upset.
And Drogba has warned his compatriots to treat every group match, especially the tie against Nigeria, with all seriousness to avoid a shameful early exit.
“All these teams deserve to participate in the competition, and they will try to play well,” the 2012 UEFA Champions League winner told the BBC.
“Nigeria with Victor Osimhen and other players who are outstanding in the world, will play a great role and will try to win this Cup.”
Ivory Coast will host the 2023 AFCON finals from January 13 to February 11.