Russia 2018 WCQ: Ivory Coast coach calling for national unity

Russia 2018 WCQ: Ivory Coast coach calling for national unity

Ivory Coast national team coach Marc Wilmots says the team needs the backing of all Ivorians in order to qualify for the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

The Belgian coach is currently not enjoying a good press in Ivory Coast following the Elephants’ unsatisfactory run so far in the campaign.

Wilfred Zaha missed the last round through injuries.

A home loss to Gabon and an away draw against Mali forced the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations winners out of the top spot in Group C, which Morocco now occupy with nine points. Despite playing the final group game at home, many locals remain skeptical of the team’s ability to surmount the Atlas Lions coached by Herve Renard – the former Elephants’ trainer.

However, Wilmots believes solidarity could do the magic and hand his side their fourth Fifa World Cup ticket.
“At this time, we all need to come together and support the team. This is not the time for opinions and doubts, but for prayers and good wishes for the Elephants,” the coach said in Abidjan on Monday.

“I know many people are not happy with us, the team, but we are calling on you to put all that behind and show support so we can defeat Morocco and go to Russia.
“We want the stadium to be jam-packed and we are ready to play our role.”

With one point separating both teams, the winner of the ‘final’, as it has been tagged by the local media, would claim the ticket to the World Cup. Wilmots will publish his list of players on Thursday November 2.

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