Zaha eyes a third Nations Cup title for Ivory Coast

Zaha eyes a third Nations Cup title for Ivory Coast

Crystal Palace ace Wilfried Zaha has expressed his desire to give his very best to Ivory Coast in order to offer the country a third Nations Cup, as the CAF biennial championship is set to kick-off.

The 24-year old, who recently opted to play international football for Ivory Coast over England, also added that he did not regret his decision to play for his country of birth.

The African Cup of Nations is set to begin on Saturday, with Ivory Coast defending their 2015 title. And Zaha, who already played in one friendly for his national team, in a 2-1 win against Sweden on Sunday, hopes that his first Nations Cup experience will earn the 1992 champions another trophy.

“I want to be able to give the best of myself to the team and contribute with my teammates to winning more titles. I want to be able to offer the country a third Nations Cup, make Ivorians happy. That is my ambition in the short term,” Zaha said in an interview on the Ivorian Football Federation’s website.

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Zaha, before now, was strongly persuaded to maintain his eligibility to play for the England senior team having played twice for the U-21. But the winger will be earning his second cap for Ivory Coast on Wednesday in a final pre-tournament friendly against Uganda.

“I left for England and I did not return to the country [Ivory Coast]. So, I did all my schooling in my adopted country and it was most normal that I played for the England youth teams.

“Now I have made my choice. Now I want to play with Ivory Coast. It has been rewarding, firstly because I am proud to play for my country, then because the Ivorian selection has quality players and has always been a reservoir of talent. So, I made the right choice and I do not regret it,” he added.

In Gabon, Ivory Coast will begin Group C play against Togo next week Monday, and will also face Congo DR and Morocco in a bid to reach the second round of the competition.

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Ben Ugbana