Leeds star Gradel gets first Ivory Coast call-up

AFP, Tuesday 22 Mar 2011

Max Gradel's impressive performances for English Championship side Leeds United earned him his first international call-up by the Ivory Coast on Tuesday for Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Benin

Max Gradel

The 23-year-old midfielder - who began his career in England with Leicester City - has been in stunning form for the former English giants this season scoring 17 times in all competitions.

Two notable absentees from the 'Elephants' squad are defenders, Manchester City's Kolo Toure and VfB Stuttgart's Arthur Boka.

Toure is presently suspended for failing a drugs test earlier this month while Boka is still out with a knee injury suffered in a friendly with Mali on February 8.

While the match is technically a home game for the Ivory Coast their matches have been moved to more stable venues.

Sunday's match is in Accra because it is regarded as too risky to host matches in Abidjan because of the bitter stand-off for the presidency after the disputed November 28 presidential poll.

Violence between the armed forces of internationally recognised president Alassane Ouattara and strongman Laurent Gbagbo has soared as the stalemate nears the four-month mark.

Goalkeepers: Gerard Gnanhouan (Vannes/FRA), Daniel Yeboah (ASEC Mimosas), Ali Badra Sangare (Sewe San Pedro)

Defenders: Souleman Bamba (Leicester/ENG), Didier Zokora (Sevilla/ESP), Siaka Tiene (Paris SG/FRA), Benjamin Angouan Brou (Valenciennes/FRA), Guy Demel (SV Hamburg/GER), Steve Gohouri (Wigan/ENG), Emmanuel Eboue (Arsenal/ENG)

Midfielders: Yaya Toure (Manchester City/ENG), Cheik Tiote (Newcastle/ENG), Romaric Ndri Koffi (Sevilla/ESP), Kafoumba Coulibaly (Nice/FRA), Max Gradel (Leeds United/ENG)

Forwards: Didier Drogba (Chelsea/ENG), Salomon Kalou (Chelsea/ENG), Gervinho (Lille/FRA), Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow/RUS), Abdul Kader Keita (Al Sadd Sport/QAT), Adama Bakayoko (ASEC Mimosas)

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