Wednesday Oct 04, 2017. 19:30
The Ivory Coast’s spate of injuries will not be used as an excuse, according to coach Marc Wilmots.
Ahead of their penultimate 2018 World Cup qualifier away to Mali on Friday evening, the Elephants have been stripped of several key players.
Gervinho, Seydou Doumbia, Jean-Michael Seri, Adama Traore, Max Gradel and Wilfried Zaha are all out due to injury, while even the recalled Wilfried Bony is a doubt.
"I prefer to have the whole of my [selection] because there are players who have tremendous quality,” Wilmots told RFI.
“It is not necessary to say if you have Seydou Doumbia, Bony, Gervinho, Jean-Michael Seri, it is still players of quality.
“We do not replace quality players like that. We can not say that Ivory Coast has a nucleus with 250 players.”
The Belgian tactician added, "Obviously, it's annoying. But I'm not a coach who complains. I make the observation and I go forward. I just made a statement.
“Since we started, there have been a lot of injuries. We put a medical service to help all the players, to work with the clubs, the little knocks that are there.
“How to care for them, how to be professional to try not to have them. That is what we are putting in place. But it's a long-term job with the clubs.”