Abidjan: Didier Drogba will lead a vastly experienced Ivory Coast squad in the African Nations Cup finals starting next month which includes a recall for Wigan Athletic striker Arouna Kone. Drogba, Emmanuel Eboue, Didier Zokora, Boubacar Barry, Arthur Boka, Siaka Tiene and the Toure brothers, Kolo and Yaya, head to a fifth successive tournament.
The widely travelled Kone, who competed at the Nations Cup finals in 2006 and 2008, is back along with Spanish-based midfielder Romaric, who has also missed out in recent years. Coach Sabri Lamouchi named a squad on Thursday with just six changes from the last edition, where the Ivorians did not concede a single goal but finished runners-up.
Third choice goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare is the only uncapped player in the squad. The Ivorians are only the second of the 16 finalists to announce their final 23-man squad for the tournament in South Africa, which starts on January 19. All squads must be finalised 10 days before the opening match.
They are to hold a 10-day training camp in Abu Dhabi from January 6-16 and play a friendly against Egypt there on January 14 before heading to South Africa, where they are top seeds in Group D alongside Algeria, Togo and Tunisia.
Goalkeepers: Boubacar Barry (Lokeren), Badra Ali Sangare (IAFC), Daniel Yeboah (Dijon).
Defenders: Soulemanye Bamba (Trabzonspor), Arthur Boka (VfB Stuttgart), Emmanuel Eboue (Galatasaray), Igor Lolo (Kuban Krasnodar), Siaka Tiene (Paris St Germain), Kolo Toure (Manchester City), Ismael Traore (Stade Brest)
Midfielders: Max Gradel (St Etienne), Abdul Razak (Manchester City), Romaric (Real Zaragoza), Didier Ya Konan (Hannover 96), Ismael Tiote (Newcastle United), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Didier Zokora (Trabzonspor).
Forwards: Wilfried Bony (Vitesse Arnhem), Didier Drogba (Shanghai Shenhua), Gervinho (Arsenal), Salomon Kalou (OSC Lille), Arouna Kone (Wigan Athletic), Lacina Traore (Anzhi Makhachkala).