Elephants out to invade Russia

Elephants out to invade Russia
Franck Kessie of Ivory Coast challenged by Chancel Mbemba of DR Congo during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Ivory Coast and DR Congo at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 20 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Mar 24, 2017. 11:30

Former African champions, Cote d'Ivoire are out to invade Russia in an international friendly on Friday night.

The Elephants are gunning for redemption and have found an opponent for this FIFA window beyond the continent.

The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations winners will be led by Ibrahim Kamara on a caretaker basis following the resignation of Michel Dussuyer after their disappointment in Gabon.

Touted as favourites to lift the trophy at the recently concluded Afcon, the Ivorians failed to reach the knockout stages as they finished third in Group C in Gabon.

They lost 1-0 to Morocco and also registered two draws to Togo and the Democratic Republic of Congo respectively.

However, a visit to Europe brings an opportunity to revive their hopes and ensure they are ready for the 2019 Afcon Qualifiers.

Shifting focus to the hosts, the Russians are yet to play an international match in 2017 as they have cancelled most of their friendlies.

Coach Stanislav Cherchesov is using the encounter to get his charges ready for their upcoming friendly against Belgium next Tuesday.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup hosts are also preparing for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup set to be staged in Russia between June and July this year.

Coming to this friendly, the Golden Eagles coach will also use this tie to forge a new team and ensure they are ready to host the biggest football showpiece.

The match gets underway at 18:00 and the venue is the Stadion FK in Krasnodar.

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