Ivorian govt budgets about €6m for defense of AFCON title

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The Elephants of Ivory Coast won the last African Cup of Nations title, and with a few weeks towards the start of the the 2017 continental showpiece, the Ivorian government has allocated a budget of around six million euros (3.9 billion CFA francs) for the title defence campaign, official sources said on Monday.

 The amount will be used for the “preparation and participation” of the Elephants in the competition scheduled to kickoff from January 14 to February 5 in Gabon.

The current figure represents an increase of more than 600,000 euros (400 million CFA francs) compared to 2015. The Elephants won the last edition of the competition beating Ghana in the finals in Equatorial Guinea.

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly and other teammates began preparatory work in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Frenchman Michel Dussuyer’s side have scheduled two friendly matches, January 8 against Sweden and January 11 against Uganda.

The final list of the 23 players will be named on January 4th ahead of the tournament which will kick off in Gabon ten days later. It means only one player will be dropped from the provisional list of 24 released late last month.

Ivory Coast are locked in Group C along with Togo, the Democratic republic of Congo and Morocco. Despite missing the services of the Toure brothers – Kolo and Yaya announced retirement from international football after 2015. They will also be without captain Yao Gervinho who recently underwent surgery.

Meanwhile, Egypt have also set sights on winning the AFCON 2017 title in Gabon this year.

Egypt’s national coach Hector Cuper has said his team will do its best to win the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

 “I always ask the player to give 100% of his effort to win every match, regardless of its importance,” said Hector Cuper, coach of the Egyptian national team. “We are going to Gabon, and we want to win the competition.”

The Pharaohs is the most successful side in the history of the African football tournament and has won the cup a record seven times. It however missed the last three editions after winning the trophy in Angola in 2010.

Cuper has already named a provisionally squad of 27 players for the team which is also bidding to qualify for the world cup in 2018.

“People are asking me questions on the street about the World Cup, but winning the CAN is also important, we will never think that the African championship is not important, We will try to do our best, starting with the match against Tunisia on January 7. We will try to win every game we play,” the 61 year old coach asserted.

Egypt will be based in Port-Gentil for the group games and is placed alongside Ghana, Mali and Uganda in Group D.

The groupings are as follows:

Group A: Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso, Cameroon
Group B: Algeria, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Senegal
Group C: Ivory Coast, Togo, DR Congo, Morocco
Group D: Ghana, Uganda, Egypt, Mali

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