Wilfried Zaha back for Ivory Coast’s final Afcon qualifier




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Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha is yet to feature in any of Ivory Coast’s Afcon 2019 qualifiers

Wilfried Zaha could play his first game in Africa Cup of Nations qualification after being named in a 24-man Ivory Coast squad to face Rwanda on 23 March.

The Crystal Palace forward missed the last two qualifiers due to “personal reasons” and has also suffered with injury.

The 26-year-old has eight goals from 26 Premier League games this season.

The Elephants have booked their place at the Cup of Nations finals in Egypt but have been hit hard by injuries.

In the last month, Levante midfielder Cheick Doukoure and Cardiff City defender Sol Bamba have both damaged knee ligaments and look certain to miss the tournament.

Ghislain Konan of Reims and Goztepe’s Adama Traore are also still unavailable as they battle back from their own long-term injuries.

It means left back Wonlo Coulibaly and France-born striker Yakou Meite could make their debuts.

Simon Deli, Abdoulaye Bamba, Ismael Traore, Ismael Diomande and Victorien Angban are among a host of players also trying to stake a claim for a place in coach Ibrahim Kamara’s final squad.

Group H after five matches:
Guinea 11 points (qualified)
Ivory Coast 8 points (qualified)
Central African Republic 5 points (eliminated)
Rwanda 2 point (eliminated)

Established internationals Eric Bailly, Serge Aurier, Serey Die, Jean Michel Seri, Max Gradel, Nicolas Pepe and Jonathan Kodjia are all included.

Ivory Coast will also play Liberia in a friendly on 26 March after the dead rubber with Rwanda, who are bottom of Group H and without a win in their qualification campaign.

Goalkeepers: Sylvain Gbohouo (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Badra Ali Sangare (Free State Stars, South Africa), Abdoul Karim Cisse (Asec Mimosas)

Defenders: Bamba Abdoulaye and Traore Ismael (Angers, France), Eric Bailly (Manchester United, England), Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspurs, England), Mamadou Bakayoko (Red Star, France), Wonlo Coulibaly (Asec Mimosas), Simon Deli (Slavia Prague, Czech Republic), Wilfried Kanon (ADO Den Haag, Netherlands)

Midfielders: Jean Michel Seri (Fulham, England), Serey Die (Neuchatel Xamax, Switzerland), Victorien Angban (FC Metz, France), Franck Kessie (AC Milan, Italy), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Mainz 05, Germany), Ismael Diomande (SM Caen, France)

Strikers: Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa, England), Roger Assale (Young Boys, Switzerland), Nicolas Pepe (Lille, France), Max Gradel (Toulouse FC, France), Maxwell Cornet (Olympique Lyon, France), Yakou Meite (Reading FC, England), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace, England)



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