Nicolas Pepe will lead the Ivory Coast attack as coach Ibrahim Kamara named his final 23-man squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations set to kick off in Egypt on June 21 reports www.aclsports.com
Five players were dropped from his initial 27-man list after 10 days of preparation in Chantilly (France) during which the Elephants defeated Comoros 3-1 in a test match.
Souleymane Doumbia, who was handed a late invitation to camp, made the list as well as team veterans Serge Aurier, Wilfried Bony and Wilfried Zaha.
Pepe, who is currently among the hottest targets in the European transfer market, will man Ivory Coast’s attack and is expected by many locals to carry the hopes of the team at the tournament.
The 2015 Afcon winners will play their first game against South Africa in Group D on June 24 before taking on Morocco and Namibia.
Goalkeepers: Gbohouo Sylvain (TP Mazembe), Badra Ali (Free State Stars), Tape Ira Eliezer (FC San Pedro)
Defenders: Aurier Serge (Tottenham), Bakayoko Mamadou (Red Star), Wonlo Couibaly (ASEC Mimosas), Traoré Ismaël (SCO Angers), Kanon Wilfried (ADO La Haye), Comara Cheick (Wydad AC), Doumbia Souleymane (Rennes)
Midfielders : Kessie Franck (Milan), Serey Die (Neuchatel), Gbamin Jean-Philippe (Mayence), Seri Michael (Fulham), Sangaré Ibrahim (Toulouse), Angban Victorien (Metz)
Forwards: Kodjia Jonathan (Aston Villa), Gradel Max-Alain (Toulouse), Pépé Nicolas (Lille), Zaha Wilfried (Crystal Palace), Cornet Maxwell (Lyon), Assale Roger (Young Boys), Bony Wilfried (Al Arabi SC)