High hopes for Côte d'Ivoire player Yaya Touré
Two English Premier League titles, an FA Cup and a League Cup, Touré’s four years with Manchester City have proved fruitful. The former Barcelona player has also enhanced his reputation as a world class midfielder while he’s been gracing England’s finest playing fields.
Touré, 31, enters the Africa Cup of Nations as the African player of the year. He went into the 2012 and 2013 boasting the same accolade but it hasn’t helped him obtain the trophy.
True, in the past two tournaments he wasn’t the skipper of the Côte d’Ivoire side, that honour was worn by Didier Drogba. But with the country’s record goal scorer now grazing in retirement from international duties, Touré has the chance to stamp his authority on the Elephants.
Does he have the personality to lead? Ask any number of Premier League midfielders and defenders for an answer. He’s led scores of them on a merry dance over the past few seasons. He’s strong, powerful, with exceptionally quick feet for a man standing more than six feet tall. He can strike the ball with immense force and has a devastating range of passing. When he and his Manchester City cohort David Silva are on song, City are a formidable proposition.
Part of his role as captain will be to instil genuine belief into an Ivorian squad that has seen their so called betters – the fabled golden generation – repeatedly wilt at the Cup of Nations.
Touré will have to make his players understand that failure is not in their DNA. Coach Hervé Renard possesses immense motivational powers and together they could be the dream combination the Ivorians have been seeking for so many years.
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