African champions Ivory Coast are in turmoil just one week ahead of the start of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, having yet to name a squad after top players failed to respond to call-ups. Ivorian Football federation officials are attempting to persuade key squad members to travel to Gabon for next Sunday’s Group I qualifier, which marks the start of the defense of the title they won in January.
Media reports said officials admitted there was little enthusiasm among several leading players to play following a long-running controversy over the non-payment of promised bonuses from their Nations Cup win in Equatorial Guinea. The situation is exacerbated by the departure last month of coachHerveRenard, who quit to join French Ligue 1 club Lille.
KoloToure leads the Ivory Coast celebrations after they won the Africa Cup of Nations back in February, but the start of their title defense is in turmoil because of a row over win bonuses following this success. Manchester City midfielder YayaToure, the Ivory Coast captain, is one of the players involved in the row. Besides the African Footballer of the Year YayaToure, there were also Serge Aurier, Gervinho and Salomon Kalou were in talks with officials.
Touré aspired to be a striker during his youth and has played center back, including for FC Barcelona in the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final, in which the club successfully gained their first treble. Touré began his playing career at Ivorian club ASEC Mimosas, where he made his debut aged 18 and considered as one of the most successful football player as he was voted African Footballer of the Year for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
His performances attracted attention from Europe, playing for clubs in various European leagues. Touré played for Beveren in Belgium, Metalurh Donetsk in Ukraine, Olympiacos in Greece, and AS Monaco in France. In 2007, Touré moved to Barcelona, playing over 100 matches for the club and was part of the historic 2009 Barcelona team which won six trophies in one calendar year.
Touré has a distinguished international career with 95 caps for the Ivory Coast, representing the team in their first appearance in a FIFA World Cup, in the 2006 competition, and also played in the 2010 and 2014 tournaments.
Ibrahim Kamara has been appointed caretaker coach but the Ivorian federation have put an advertisement on their website for a new coach. A deadline of June 15 has been imposed for applicants.