It’s safe to say that the Ivory Coast haven’t exactly stampeded through their opening group stage of the AFCON 2017 in Gabon.
Having drawn their opening two games, the Elephants have made a stuttering start to defend the title they won in 2015. Now sitting in third place they must win their win game against Morocco, who currently sit one place above them.
The Ivory Coast got out of the group stages in 2015 with a win and two draws, so they can’t be discounted yet, but anything less than a win will mean bye-bye from the tournament.
For purely selfish claret and blue reasons this could be good news, as it would mean seeing the return of Jonathan Kodjia in a Villa shirt earlier than expected. Originally, it was thought that the Ivory Coast would at least make the knock-out stages, so it could be a real Brucey bonus for the Villa manager to get his main striking threat back.
Kodjia has had a bit of an indifferent tournament so far. He started his country’s opening 0-0 draw against Togo, but was subbed after 82 minutes. He then remained on the bench as a sub while the ivory Coast drew 2-2 against Congo DR, with Bony getting the nod and scoring.
It will interesting to see if Kodjia gets a start to help determine his fate – extra time in Gabon or a swift flight back to Birmingham.
Also, with Villa’s game against Bristol City being put back from January 28th to February, in terms of losing Kodjia, the AFCON may turn out to have minimal impact after all for Villa.
Ayew Coming Back Early as Well?
Meanwhile Jordan Ayew’s Ghana got off to a better start with a 1-0 win against Uganda with the winner coming from Ayew’s brother Andre from the penalty spot. The Villa version of the Ayew brothers started the game and was subbed off in the later stages.
Ghana will be looking for at least a point in their next game against Mali to help set them up for passage into the knock-out rounds.
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