Cote d'Ivoire U23 coach Soualiho Haidara has revealed that squad absences will motivate the team to play hard in the U23 Africa Cup of Nations final against Egypt.
Cote d'Ivoire reached the U23 AFCON final after defeating Ghana on penalty shootouts Tuesday, and are to meet Egypt Friday at Cairo International Stadium. The hosts Egypt qualified for the final after their 3-0 victory against South Africa.
"For me the absences are a big motivation to the available group. No one will feel that our team is incomplete, as existing players possess great experience," Haidara told a pre-game press conference Thursday.
The Ivoirian team lost one of its shining stars, Christian Kouame, Genoa's forward, who suffered from a cruciate ligament injury.
Egypt faced Cote d'Ivoire in the 2008 Olympics qualifiers where the Pharaohs were eliminated after losing 4-2 in aggregate.
"We can't ignore Egypt's strength in both defence and offence, and their abilities to make a difference, and we respect them greatly. But we also will be a concern for them," said Haidara.
"My father and my elder brother won this tournament in Egypt before, and I hope to walk in their path and win it as a coach," he added.
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