The Ivory Coast’s Year, This Year?

January 22, 2012 — by Rob Kirby



The Ivory Coast’s Year, This Year?

January 22, 2012 — by Rob Kirby

The Ivory Coast won their first match of the 2012 African Cup of Nations today, a 1-0 defeat of Sudan with Didier Drogba scoring the lone goal. Shockingly, Gervinho rocketed a few over the crossbar. And he’s usually so clinical…

Curious as to their current FIFA ranking and who else might likely put up a fight against the Elephants, I looked it up. Learning that they rank 18th internationally didn’t surprise, but the fact that only 5 other African countries make up the top 50 did.

Current FIFA rankings:

18 Côte d’Ivoire   
26 Ghana   
32 Algeria  
36 Egypt   
43 Senegal   
45 Nigeria

Then I looked up the past few winners of the cup. 2010, Egypt. 2008, Egypt. 2006, Egypt. 2004, Tunisia.

Egypt? For three tournaments running?

More current Ivory Coast players have played for Arsenal in the past two years than I could even name on the Egypt national team. Actually, anyone I named on the Egypt national team would be a guess–I don’t know any player for certain who is Egyptian.

(I just looked up the current team roster–I recognize nary a name. I somewhat remember Zaki for Hull City, but he’s been dropped from the most recent squad.)

Compare with the Ivory Coast: Kolo Toure (Manchester City), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Gervinho (Arsenal), Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Salomon Kalou (Chelsea), Cheik Tiote (Newcastle United), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart), Didier Zokora (Trabzonspor), Emmanuel Eboue (Galatasaray).

The Ivory Coast didn’t light the world on fire in either the 2006 or 2010 World Cups. They failed to make it out of the group stages of either one, incidentally the only two for which they’ve ever qualified.

Do Les Éléphants choke when it really comes down to it, or will this year finally be the year? Egypt didn’t even qualify for this year’s Cup–the top spot is wide open!

(The Ivory Coast did win in 1992, to be fair.)

Cup Winners:

2010 Egypt 1-0 Ghana
2008 Egypt 1-0 Cameroon
2006 Egypt 0-0 Ivory Coast (4-2 Pens)
2004 Tunisia 2-1 Morocco
2002 Cameroon 0-0 Senegal (3-2 Pens)
2000 Cameroon 2-2 Nigeria (4-3 Pens)
1998 Egypt 2-0 South Africa
1996 South Africa 2-0 Tunisia
1994 Nigeria 2-1 Zambia
1992 Ivory Coast 0-0 Ghana (11-10 Pens)
1990 Algeria 1-0 Nigeria
1988 Cameroon 1-0 Nigeria
1986 Egypt 0-0 Cameroon (5-4 Pens)
1984 Cameroon 3-1 Nigeria
1982 Ghana 1-1 Libya (7-6 Pens)
1980 Nigeria 3-0 Algeria
1978 Ghana 2-0 Uganda
1976 Morocco (League Format)
1974 Zaire 2-0 Zambia (After Replay)
1972 Congo 3-2 Mali
1970 Sudan 1-0 Ghana
1968 RD Congo 1-0 Ghana
1965 Ghana 3-2 Tunisia
1963 Ghana 3-0 Sudan
1961 Ethiopia 4-2 Egypt
1959 Egypt 2-1 Sudan
1957 Egypt 4-0 Ethiopia