AFCON 2023: Ivory Coast star Zaha reacts to omission from squad

Galatasaray winger Wilfried Zaha has reacted to being dropped from Ivory Coast's Africa Cup of Nations squad.

The decision came amid reports that the Ivorian attacker who was initially named in the 55-man provisional squad for the AFCON was not helping to unite the dressing room with too many excuses. However, on Thursday after the squad list was announced, coach Jean-Louis Gasset clarified that his omission was a coaching decision.

Since switching to play for the Elephants from England in 2017, he has struggled to hit the ground running, scoring 5 goals in 33 appearances. While he appears to be in a rich vein of form this season for Galatasaray, with 5 goals from 10 appearances, this has not been enough to afford him a spot in the national team.

Zaha responds to AFCON miss

The former Crystal Palace star said he understands the coach's decision to drop him, insisting he holds no grudge.

He wrote on Instagram: “Good luck to the guys that have been selected to represent the country. I will be supporting the team from my base. Fair Play.”

The 31-year-old winger's exclusion has been backed by Ivory Coast fans including former international Guy Demel. “Concerning Zaha, I do not get to make the decisions but if I were to take a decision on the player, let me categorically state here that he will not be a part of my team to the Africa Cup of Nations,” he said before the final squad was announced.

Ivory Coast are placed in group A alongside Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea. As hosts, they kick off the tournament with an encounter against Guinea-Bissau on January 11.

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Rotimi Akindele

Rotimi Akindele is a Sports Journalist with almost two decades' experience. He is a TV and radio host, commentator and writer who has covered major sporting events across the globe. Akindele's sports content has been listened to and read by a global audience. He is a well-known figure within Nigeria and the African football scene.