Idriss Diallo received Jonathan Bamba and Evan N’Dicka, newly selected for the Elephants, at the FIF on Monday 19 June 2023. The president of Ivorian football congratulated the two players. He also took the opportunity to bang his fist on the table after Saturday’s heavy defeat by Zambia.
It’s certainly the end of playtime for the Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire. The President of the Fédération Ivoirienne de Football (Ivorian Football Federation) said that the 17 June loss to Zambia marked “the end of the test phase” conducted by coach Jean-Louis Gasset, who is due to present a team in September based on a number of key criteria, including the players’ good health, their regularity at club level, their commitment and their determination to defend the national flag. Clearly, the commando team that is due to play the 2023 African Cup of Nations on home soil in January 2024 will be called up by the French coach.
Clearly, the President’s message needs to be deciphered tactfully. Since the arrival of Jean-Louis Gasset in May 2023, the former Bordeaux coach has always had a free hand in drawing up his lists. And that is still the case today, and will continue to be the case until the end of the African Cup. However, it was time for him to put the kibosh on the prevailing “disorder” that has prevailed within the squad for just over a year now. Far from disowning his coach, he showed him the way forward in his choices.
No more free passes
In his speech, relayed by the Federation’s communications department, Idriss Diallo spoke of the players’ good health. Clearly, if a player is injured at club level, the FIF doctor will carry out a second opinion. This is to avoid debate over the plethora of injuries (12) reported during the June window. The head of Ivorian football also spoke about regularity at club level. Aurier, who was without a club, Eric Bailly, who was on the bench at Marseille, and Franck Kessié, who was struggling at Barcelona, were all selected for the last few meetings.
From now on, they will have to invite players who are in good form to the squad. Idriss Diallo has also indicated that we need to call up players who are determined to defend the national shirt. You don’t have to be a clairvoyant to know that certain players who are reluctant to come to certain training sessions are being targeted, notably Séko Fofana, whose attitude has caused a lot of talk in recent months, and Wilfried Zaha. Clearly, the president wants to see a return to discipline among the 1992 and 2015 African champions just a few months before the football festival.