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Penpix of Ivory Coast's World Cup squad

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May 29, 2006 17:58 IST
The Ivory Coast squad for the World Cup finals in Germany comprises the following 23 players:

(Statistics up to and including May 23 2006)


1-Jean-Jacques Tizie (Esperance, Tunisia). Born 7.9.72 Caps: 22 Goals: 0.

Injury-plagued first-choice goalkeeper, who made his debut in a friendly in 1995 but waited five years before his second cap at the start of the 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign. One of the few African-based players in the Ivorian squad.

23-Boubacar Barry (Beveren, Belgium). Born 30.12.79 Caps: 5 Goals: 0.  

Second-choice goalkeeper who made a cameo appearance at the 2006 African Nations Cup tournament as a substitute. One of more than half a dozen Ivorian players at his Belgian club.

16-Gerard Gnanhouan (Montpellier, France). Born 12.2.79 Caps: 6 Goals: 0

Last played for the national side when they lost 3-2 at home to Cameroon in a World Cup qualifier last September, a match where he received considerable criticism for his performance. Spent three seasons at Sochaux, including participating in the UEFA Cup.


3-Arthur Boka (Racing Strasbourg, France). Born 2.4.83. Caps: 20 Goals: 1

Tough full back who began his career at ASEC Abidjan's academy and was among the first wave of players to leave for Beveren in Belgium under the tutelage of Frenchman Jean-Marc Guillou. Won the French League Cup last year with Racing Strasbourg.

20-Guy Demel (Hamburg SV, Germany). Born 13.6.81. Caps: 6 Goals: 0

Parisian-born of Ivorian parentage, Demel has spent most of his professional career in Germany and has played both in defence and midfield. Made his first start for the Ivorians in the African Nations Cup finals group match against Egypt in January.

13-Marc Zoro (Messina, Italy). Born 27.12.83. Caps: 12 Goals: 0

Born in Abidjan but taken to Italy as a teenager where he signed at Salernitana. Made headlines in recent months as the subject of some stinging racial abuse in the Italian league, a practice which he has harshly condemned.

17-Cyrille Domoraud (Creteil, France). Born 22.7.71. Caps: 48 Goals: 0

Elder statesman of the side who now provides defensive cover. Has played at major clubs such as Girondins Bordeaux, Olympique Marseille, Inter Milan, Monaco and Espanyol in Spain but is now back with French Ligue 2 club Creteil, where he began his professional career in 1992.

21-Emmanuel Eboue (Arsenal, England). Born 4.6.83. Caps: 9 Goals: 0

Started his career as striker but is now a defender to watch, forging a place at right back during the Nations Cup finals in Egypt. Played in the 2004 Belgian Cup final and accumulated 70 appearances in three seasons at Beveren before moving to England where he has impressed in his early games for Arsenal, although he won few friends among neutrals for his dive in the Champions League final which led to the free-kick from which Arsenal scored.

6-Blaise Kossi Kouassi (Troyes, France). Born 2.2.75 Caps: 34 Goals: 0.

Squad member at four African Nations Cup finals tournaments but made only one appearance during the World Cup qualifiers in 2005. Won the 1998 African Champions League with ASEC Abidjan before an initial transfer to France with Guingamp.

12-Abdoulaye Meite (Olympique Marseille, France). Born 6.10.80 Caps: 15 Goals: 0.

French-born defender who vacillated about playing for the Ivorian team despite several invitations before finally forgoing hopes of playing for France in mid-2003. Played in Olympique Marseille's side, which lost to Valencia in the 2004 UEFA Cup final in Gothenburg.

4-Kolo Toure (Arsenal, England). Born 19.3.81. Caps: 40 Goals: 1.

Outstanding in defence for the Ivorians at the recent African Nations Cup finals which heralded the start of a busy year with UEFA Champions League and World Cup commitments ahead of him. Won an English premier league championship medal in 2004 and an FA Cup winners' medal last year as well as a Champions League runners-up medal with Arsenal this month.


2-Kanga Akale (AJ Auxerre, France). Born 7.3.81. Caps: 20 Goals: 2

Unheralded player in his own country who came to prominence only after moving to Switzerland, first at FC Sion and later for FC Zurich. Scored the first goal in the 3-1 win over Sudan last October that booked the Elephants' berth at the 2006 World Cup finals.

7-Emerse Fae (FC Nantes, France). Born 24.1.84. Caps: 11 Goals: 0

A winner of the world under-17 championships in Trinidad and Tobago with France in 2001, Fae benefited from new FIFA rules which allowed him to change his international status. Born in Nantes, Fae played a part in all six of the Ivorians' games at the Nations Cup finals in Egypt in January and February.  

10-Gilles Yapi Yapo (Young Boys, Switzerland) Born 30.1.82 Caps: 24 Goals: 2

Yapi Yapo played for FC Nantes in the 2004 French League Cup final, where he squandered a penalty in the post-match shootout that Nantes lost. Has had little league action this season and was loaned to Young Boys in February.

19-Gneri Yaya Toure (Olympiakos, Greece). Born 13.5.83. Caps: 11 Goals: 1.

Younger brother of Kolo Toure, who is also originally from the ASEC Abidjan academy and then the Belgium club Beveren, but now plays for Greek champions Olympiakos. He is an imposing midfielder and Kolo often says of him: "He is much better than me."

5-Didier Zokora (St Etienne, France). Born 14.12.80. Caps: 35 Goals: 0

Highly rated defensive midfielder linked in recent months with a possible move to several major European clubs including Arsenal and Manchester United. Zokora joined Belgium's Racing Genk in 2000 and helped the provincial side to win the league title in 2002 before moving to France.  


15-Aruna Dindane (Racing Lens, France). Born 26.11.80. Caps: 32 Goals: 10.

Missed out on the recent Nations Cup finals in Egypt first because of the death of his daughter and then with a calf injury. Made his national team debut at the age of 19 and played at the 2002 African Nations Cup finals in Mali.

11-Didier Drogba (Chelsea, England). Born 11.3.78 Caps: 29 Goals: 21.

Formerly Africa's most expensive footballer, who cost Chelsea 24 million pounds when he moved from Olympique Marseille in 2004. His goal ratio for the Ivorians has been the catalyst for their elevation into first-time World Cup finalists -- he scored nine goals in the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign.

8-Bonaventure Kalou (Paris St Germain, France). Born 12.1.78 Caps: 46 Goals: 11.  

Former captain of the Ivorian side and among its most influential players, adept both in attack and midfield. He was bought from ASEC Abidjan's academy by Dutch club Feyenoord, where he spent six seasons and in 2002 won the UEFA Cup. His young brother Salomon has lost a legal process to become a Dutch citizen and had to forego his hopes of playing in this World Cup for the Netherlands.

18-Abdelkader Keita (Lille, France). Born 6.8.81 Caps: 23 Goals: 6

Recalled to the squad in March and scored on his return against Spain. Has played club football in Tunisia and Qatar before moving to Lille last year and has an older brother, Fadel, who was also an international.

9-Arouna Kone (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands). Born 11.11.83 Caps: 15 Goals: 2

Striker who carved a high profile for himself at the Nations Cup finals in Egypt and from whom much is expected at the World Cup. Made only substitute appearances for the Elephants in the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign but started four games at the tournament in Egypt.

14-Bakary Kone (Nice, France). Born 17.9.81 Caps: 13 Goals: 3  

Scored within 16 minutes of coming on for his international debut and has a role now as a substitute striker off the bench to replace either Drogba or Arouna Kone. He was named as the best player in France's Ligue 2 after 24 goals in 35 matches for Lorient in the 2004-05 season, moving up to Ligue 1 with Nice in July.

22-Christian Koffi N'Dri (Le Mans, France). Born 4.6.83. Caps: 6 Goals: 0

Made a surprisingly quick recovery from an horrific car crash in the off-season and is now pushing for a regular place in the Ivorian starting line-up after not participating in last year's World Cup qualifiers. Moved from ASEC Abidjan to Beveren in 2003 and then Le Mans at the start of the season.

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