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Zaha begins training with Ivory Coast in Abu Dhabi

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 Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha

Wilfred Zaha belatedly began training with Ivory Coast on Friday ahead of their African Nations Cup finals campaign, effectively dashing England’s hopes of him back-tracking on his switch of allegiance.

Zaha travelled to the team’s training camp in the United Arab Emirates after scoring for Crystal Palace in Tuesday’s 2-1 home loss to Swansea City.

Born in Abidjan, Zaha has won two England caps but both in friendly internationals and he has not been picked over the last three years.

England manager Gareth Southgate met Zaha last month in a bid to convince him of the potential of future England appearances.

Sunderland defender Lamine Kone also arrived in Abu Dhabi on Thursday but only after first travelling to Paris for a medical test, the Ivorian Football Federation said.

The Ivorians open the defence of their title in Oyem against Togo on Jan. 16.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Sylvain Gbohou (TP Mazembe Englebert), Badra Ali Sangare (AS Tanda), and Mande Sayouba (Stabaek).

Defenders: Serge Aurier (Paris St Germain), Mamadou Bagayoko (St Truiden), Eric Bailly (Manchester United), Simon Deli (Slavia Prague), Wilfried Kanon (ADO Den Haag), Lamine Kone (Sunderland), and Adama Traore (Basle).

Midfielders: Victorien Angban (Granada), Cheik Doukoure (Metz), Franck Kessie (Atalanta), Yao Serge Nguessan (Nancy), Jean Michael Seri (Nice), and Geoffroy Serey Die (Basle).

Forwards: Wilfried Bony (Stoke City), Max Alain Gradel (Bournemouth), Salomon Kalou (Hertha Berlin), Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa), Nicolas Pepe (Angers), Giovanni Sio (Stade Rennes) and Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace).



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