Drogba in Afcon squad

ABIDJAN - African footballer of the year Didier Drogba, who underwent knee surgery last month, has been named in the Ivory Coast's 23-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ghana later this month.

ABIDJAN - African footballer of the year Didier Drogba, who underwent knee surgery last month, has been named in the Ivory Coast's 23-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ghana later this month.

Drogba returned to training at Chelsea this week and the Ivorian coach Uli Stielike has gambled on his being fit in time for the start of the tournament on January 20.

Fifteen members are retained from the squad that competed at the last Nations Cup finals in Egypt two years ago, where they finished runners-up.

The Elephants begin pre-tournament preparations today with a training camp in Kuwait, which will include an international against the home side on January 12.

The Ivory Coast open their Afcon campaign with a Group B clash against Nigeria in Sekondi on January 21.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Boubacar Barry (Lokeren), Tiasse Kone (Africa Sports), Stephan Loboue (SpVgg Greuther Furth)

Defenders: Arthur Boka (VfB Stuttgart), Constant Djakpa (Pandurii Targu Jiu), Emmanuel Eboue (Arsenal), Steve Gohouri (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Abdoulaye Meite (Bolton Wanderers), Kolo Toure (Arsenal), Marc Zoro (Benfica)

Midfielders: Emerse Fae (Reading), Christian Koffi Ndri (Le Mans), Siaka Tiene (St Etienne), Gneri Yaya Toure (Barcelona), Didier Zokora (Tottenham Hotspur)

Forwards: Aruna Dindane (Racing Lens), Drogba (Chelsea), Salomon Kalou (Chelsea), Abdelkader Keita (Olympique Lyon), Arouna Kone (Sevilla);

Bakary Kone (Nice), Gervais Yao Kouassi (Le Mans), Boubacar Sanogo (Werder Bremen). - Reuters

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