Côte d'Ivoire have handed a first call-up to the senior squad for Netherlands-based midfielder Cheikh Tiote for Sunday's FIFA World Cup™ qualifier against Malawi in Abidjan. The 22-year-old replaces the injured Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure.
Tiote is promoted up from the Ivorian U-23 side after regular performances for Twente in the Netherlands this season. Elephants coach Vahid Halilhodzic has also called-up back-up goalkeeper Badari Ali Sangare to replace injured Vincent de Paul Angan. Sangare played for the locally-based national side at the recent CAF African Nations Championship, which Côte d'Ivoire hosted
The Group E qualifier marks only the second game in more than a year in national colours for Ivorian captain Didier Drogba, who scored on his return to the team against Turkey in a friendly last month. He missed the entire first group phase of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers with a knee injury.
There is also a return to the squad for France-born defenders Steve Gohouri and Abdoulaye Meite.
Goalkeepers: Badra Ali Sangare (Entente Bingerville), Boubacar Barry (Lokeren, BEL), Aristide Benoît Zogbo (FC Shorta, EGY)
Defenders: Souleymane Bamba (Hibernian, SCO), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart, GER), Benjamin Angoua Brou (Budapest Honved, HUN), Guy Demel (Hamburg SV, GER), Emmanuel Eboue (Arsenal, ENG), Steve Gohouri (Borussia Moenchengladbach, GER), Abdoulaye Meite (West Bromwich Albion, ENG), Kolo Toure (Arsenal, ENG)
Midfielders: Emerse Fae (Nice, FRA), Jean-Jacques Gosso Gosso (Monaco, FRA), Emmanuel Kouamatien Kone (CFR Cluj, ROM), Christian Koffi Ndri ‘Romaric' (Sevilla, ESP), Siaka Tiene (Valenciennes, FRA), Cheik Ismael Tiote (FC Twente, NED), Didier Zokora (Tottenham Hotspur, ENG),
Strikers: Sekou Cisse (Roda JC Kerkrade, NED), Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou (both Chelsea, ENG), Abdelkader Keita (Lyon, FRA), Bakary Kone (Marseille, FRA), Boubacar Sanogo (Hoffenheim, GER)