CAN 2013: Lamouchi wants to go all the way
Côte d’Ivoire, Sabri Lamouchi
But first and foremost the Elephants have to wage war with the Senegal Lions, whom they had the misfortune of being drawn against for the last round of qualifiers, before they can hit South African soil next January.
And this will be no small task against this formidable and dreaded opponent, one which Lamouchi would have preferred to cross paths with much later in the continental tournament.
“First off, I will say that we would have liked to have played another team than Senegal…
“Yes, they are busy rebuilding the team, but it is still a quality team. Senegal vs Côte d’Ivoire could have been the final of the Afcon 2013 in South Africa,” admitted the French technician on RFI.
But the former international was nevertheless very clear about the Ivoirians’ ambition, which is to bring the trophy home to Abidjan.
“My goals are clear, qualify the team for the Afcon 2013 and do better than last time, which means to win. This could be the last competition for the current generation. If they bring the title home to their people, that would be an immense gift,” stated Lamouchi on RMC.
The Senegalese on the other hand might not be filled with euphoria at this stage, but they do not feel that the battle is already lost.
“Of course Senegal did not want to meet this team at this stage, but if our ambition is to win an Africa Cup of Nations, we must be able to beat any of the teams,” admitted the Lions’ coach, Joseph Koto, who believes in his team despite their catastrophic campaign in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
“The Teranga Lions disappointed in the last Afcon, but one quickly forgets that to reach that tournament, they succeeded in eliminating Cameroon and the DRC, two former African champions.”
This important clash will also have a certain flavour for the former Lions’ international, whose memories of the Elephants are not all sweet.
“I was a member of the Senegal national team alongside Jules Bocandé that enchanted the nation for years, but that unfortunately never managed to win a title. In fact we were eliminated from the first round of the Afcon 1986 by Côte d’Ivoire. So today, I owe myself that revenge,” added Joseph Koto.