Salomon Kalou believes that Ivory Coast have what it takes to win the 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament as hosts. The former Chelsea and Hertha Berlin forward backed the Ivorians for the 2023 AFCON tournament while speaking on Sports TV channel SuperSport last week Tuesday.
Former Ivory Coast national team attacker Salomon Kalou was in the Super Sport TV studios to conduct the draw for the 2023 AFCON qualifiers alongside South African football legend Lucas Radebe. Kalou is adamant that his country has the quality of players required to win the AFCON tournament next summer.
Salomon Kalou said that host nations always have the advantage of playing at home and the Ivorians won’t be an exception. According to him, Ivory Coast have a high chance of winning the 2023 AFCON tournament if they can merge experience and youth together.
Kalou was part of the Ivory Coast squad that won the second of their two AFCON titles by beating Ghana in the final on penalties at the 2015 edition.
Ivorian fans were disappointed with the performance of their team at the 2021 AFCON tournament in Cameroon earlier this year after they crashed out at the round of 16 stage. After emerging as winners of Group E ahead of Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone and Algeria, Ivory Coast lost to eventual finalists Egypt on penalties after the two teams played out a goalless draw at the end of both regulation time and extra time.
The early AFCON 2021 exit compounded the woes of the Ivorian fans after they failed to qualify for the final round of the World Cup 2022 qualifiers in the African section. They were piped to the final round of qualifiers by Cameroon. The Cameroonian went one further by beating Algeria on the away goals rule to qualify for the tournament in Qatar.