Cote d’Ivoire chase fourth straight WCQ win

Cote d’Ivoire chase fourth straight WCQ win
Lazare Amani of Cote dIvoire challenged by Jim Allevinah of Gabon during the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers match between Cote dIvoire and Gabon at Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo, Cote dIvoire on 7 June 2024 ©Mohamed Aly/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Monday Jun 10, 2024. 11:00

Cote d’Ivoire will look to further assert their dominance of Group F in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers when they face ‘hosts’ Kenya at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe, Malawi, in the afternoon of Tuesday 11 June 2024.

Kick-off is at 15:00 CAT.

The reigning African champions and group leaders made it three wins from as many matches when they defeated nearest chasers Gabon 1-0 in Korhogo on Friday – courtesy of a first-half strike from Seko Fofana.

The Elephants, led by coach Emerse Fae, are looking to build on the momentum of their Africa Cup of Nations triumph and return to the World Cup for the first time since 2014 – and a fourth straight win would put them in a powerful position to do exactly that.

Kenya, meanwhile, have made a respectable start to the qualifiers by putting up four points from their first three matches to be placed third on the log.

The Harambee Stars, though, would have been disappointed with a 1-1 draw at home to Burundi on Friday. Duke Abuya put them ahead with less than 20 minutes to play, but they conceded a late equaliser to Sudi Abdallah.

Coach Engin Firat was left dissatisfied with the standard of refereeing, and argues that his team performed well enough – even if the final result was not one he could stomach.

“The first 15 minutes we didn’t start like I wanted. Afterwards, we started our passing game and got our goal chances,” he explained.

“So, I cannot say that I’m happy with the referee because they did everything to stop the game. Every ball, every free kick against us, every set piece, took two or three minutes to restart.

“It was not possible to maintain any tempo in this game. In the second half, we pushed more. We scored in the end, but we should have scored earlier. It’s a problem if you don’t score the second goal because this kind of crazy goal can happen.”

Firat added, “I’m not unhappy with the way we played, especially if people knew the conditions we faced and what happened in these days. So, therefore, I’m happy with the way the boys played, but not with the result.”

In head-to-head stats, Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire have met in just one previous match: a friendly in December 1991 which the Elephants won 4-0 in Abidjan.

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