AFCON 2024 – Ivory Coast: Squad, group, opponents & schedule

The Elephants of Ivory Coast will be making their 25th Africa Cup of Nations appearance since their debut in 1965 at AFCON 2024.

For clarity's sake, this year's competition is officially named AFCON 2023 since it was initially scheduled to take place last year but was postponed until January-February 2024.

They’ve won the competition on two occasions—in 1992 after defeating neighbours Ghana in a dramatic penalty shootout, and their last triumph was 23 years later after once again defeating the Black Stars in another shootout drama at the Estadio de Bata in Equatorial Guinea.

Ivory Coast AFCON 2024 schedule

The host nation are placed in Group A and have been drawn against Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea.

They will kick off the tournament with an opener against Guinea-Bissau on January 13, followed by a match against Nigeria on January 18. They play Equatorial Guinea in their last Group A fixture on January 22.

  • January 13, 9 p.m: Ivory Coast – Guinea-Bissau, Alassane Ouattara D’Anyama Olympic Stadium
  • January 18, 6 p.m: Ivory Coast – Nigeria, Alassane Ouattara D’Anyama Olympic Stadium
  • January 22, 6 p.m: Equatorial Guinea – Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara D’Anyama Olympic Stadium

How did Ivory Coast qualify for AFCON 2023?

The Jean-Louis Gasset led side achieved qualification by placing second behind Zambia in a group that also featured Lesotho and Comoros. The Elephants won four matches, drew one, and suffered their only defeat to Zambia, accumulating a total of 13 points in the process.

Day 1: Ivory Coast-Zambia (2-1)

Day 2: Lesotho-Ivory Coast (0-0)

Day 3: Ivory Coast-Comoros (3-1)

Day 4: Comoros-Côte d’Ivoire (0-2)

Ivory Coast's last 10 games before AFCON 2024

In their last 10 games which includes two 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, AFCON 2024 qualifiers and two friendlies, the West Africans have won six, drawn two, and with two defeats.

  • Gambia-Ivory Coast (0-2) – 2026 World Cup Qualifiers
  • Ivory Coast-Seychelles (9-0) – 2026 World Cup Qualifiers
  • Ivory Coast-South Africa (1-1) – Friendly
  • Ivory Coast-Morocco (1-1) – Friendly
  • Ivory Coast-Lesotho (1-0) – CAN 2023 Qualifiers
  • Zambia-Ivory Coast (3-0) – CAN 2023 Qualifiers
  • Comoros-Côte d’Ivoire (0-2) – CAN 2023 Qualifiers
  • Ivory Coast-Comoros (3-1) – CAN 2023 Qualifiers
  • Burkina Faso-Côte d’Ivoire (2-1) – CAN 2023 Qualifiers
  • Ivory Coast-Burundi (4-0) – CAN 2023 Qualifiers

Ivory Coast: a team generating high anticipation

Ivory Coast will be going into the tournament as the host nation and might want to capitalise on that advantage to win their third title.

The beauty of this Ivory Coast team and what they represent is that it isn’t about individuals. Led by Gasset, they have stuck to their guns at every turn as a collective.

AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon sport

Ivory Coast coach: Jean-Louis Gasset

With regards to how far Ivory Coast have come under the tutelage of Gasset, the players are of course a big reason—but don’t underestimate the work of Gasset. He’s worked hard to ensure players' discipline unlike previously.

He took over as the manager of Ivory Coast in May 2022, replacing Patrice Beaumelle, following the expiry of his contract. Despite facing challenges, his record is rather commendable with nine victories, three draws, and two defeats.

However, the Elephants still struggle against tough opposition, as seen in their 1-1 draws against Morocco and South Africa in a friendly last October.

Despite being an experienced coach, this is his first time leading a national team. Formerly the assistant coach of Paris-Saint-Germain (2001-2003 and 2013-2016), he is known for his ability to unify and connect with his players, making him the right person to lead the Elephants as far as possible during this AFCON 2024 at home.

AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon sport

Player to watch: Seko Fofana

The ex-captain of RC Lens in Ligue 1, who currently plays for Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League alongside Sadio Mané and Cristiano Ronaldo, returned to the Ivorian national team last October during a friendly match against Morocco (1-1).

After being absent since September 2022, the 28-year-old midfielder delivered a compelling performance in the Elephants' midfield. Despite having only earned 12 caps (with 5 goals) since his debut in 2017, the former Lens star, who scored twice during the last matches against Seychelles (9-0) and Gambia (2-0), is eager to demonstrate that his journey with the Ivorian national team is truly taking off.

He undeniably possesses the talent and desire, contrary to some misconceptions.

Photo by Icon Sport
Photo by Icon sport

Ivory Coast's AFCON 2024 preparations

When camping in Abidjan, Ivory Coast made light work of Sierra Leone in a pre-Afcon friendly on January 6. Ousmane Diomande, Franck Kessie, Johnathan Bamba, Jeremie Boga and Lazare Amani were on target for the Elephants. They played Guinea-Bissau at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium to kick-start the tournament.

Wilfried Zaha dropped

Gasset surprisingly left Galatasaray winger Wilfried Zaha out of his 27-man squad. However, Nicolas Pepe returned to the team after a year’s absence.

Borussia Dortmund’s Sébastien Haller and Brighton winger Simon Adingra have both been included in the squad as well, despite both players still nursing some injury concerns and with no assurance that they would be fit enough even to play in front of their home fans. 

Ivory Coast AFCON 2024 final squad

Goalkeepers: Yahia Fofana (Angers, France), Charles Folly (ASEC Mimosas, Ivory Coast), Badra Ali Sangare (Sekhukhune United, South Africa).

Defenders: Serge Aurier, Willy Boly (both Nottingham Forest, England), Ismael Diallo (Hajduk Split, Croatia), Ousmane Diomande (Sporting Lisbon, Portugal), Ghislain Konan (Al Fayha, Saudi Arabia), Evans Ndicka (Roma, Italy), Odilon Kossounou (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Wilfried Singo (Monaco, France).

Midfielders: Jean-Thierry Lazare Amani (Union Saint-Gilloise, Belgium), Idrissa Doumbia (Alanyaspor, Turkey), Seko Fofana (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia), Ibrahim Sangare (Nottingham Forest, England), Franck Kessie (Al-Ahli, Saudi Arabia), Jean-Michael Seri (Hull City, England).

Forwards: Simon Adingra (Brighton & Hove Albion, England), Jonathan Bamba (Celta Vigo, Spain), Jeremie Boga (Nice, France), Sebastien Haller (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Karim Konate (RB Salzburg, Austria), Christian Kouame (Fiorentina, Italy), Jean-Philippe Krasso (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia), Max-Alain Gradel (Gaziantep, Turkey), Oumar Diakite (Reims, France), Nicolas Pepe (Trabzonspor, Turkey).

Avatar photo
Godfred Budu

Godfred Budu is a purpose-driven Ghanaian sports writer with a sharp eye for excellence. He has had stints with www.kickgh.com inkandkicks.com and ghanafans.com. He loves to talk and write about football on the African continent.