Côte d’Ivoire

The past
Côte d’Ivoire’s best result in a FIFA tournament came in the U-17 World Cup in Canada in 1987 when the side picked up the bronze medal. The Ivorians were the second-best attacking side at the tournament but, after finishing top of their first round group and beating Qatar 3-0 in the quarter-final, they lost to eventual winners the Soviet Union in the semi-finals. They bounced back to score an extra time win over Italy in the third place match. In 2005, the Ivorians were unable to match such exploits and picked up just one point at the tournament in Peru.

The present

Many observers felt the Ivorian Elephanteaux looked the best team at the CAF U1-7 Championship in Rwanda where their semi-final place earned them a trip to Mexico 2011. They finished top of their group, effectively securing their trip to Mexico with a convincing 4-1 win over Gambia, the defending champions, in their final Group B match. Guy Stephane Bedi finished joint-top scorer in the tournament, although he was unable to score when it mattered as the side fell 1-0 in the last four match against the host nation.

The future

Coach Alain Gouamene says there will not be too many changes in his squad leading up to the trip to Mexico in mid-year. “We have a core that is already in place and at the African championship they played at a really high level. They have experience,” he said. But as with the other African representatives heading to the FIFA U-17 World Cup, he will cast an eye over possible additions to the squad from the Diaspora in Europe.