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Zaha named in Ivory Coast provisional AFCON squad

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Wilfred Zaha met with the Ivory Coast coach Michael Dussuyer over the possibility of representing Ivory Coast in Gabon

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Dec 28- Wilfried Zaha has been named in Ivory Coast’s provisional squad for the Africa Cup of Nations, days after meeting England manager Gareth Southgate about his international future.

Zaha, who has won two caps in friendlies for England, features on a list of players to travel to Abu Dhabi next week to begin preparations for the tournament in Gabon, where the Ivorians are defending their African title.

Southgate tried to persuade Zaha to commit his future to England at a meeting two days ago.

The 24-year-old, who was born in Abidjan, announced his intention to switch his allegiance to the Ivory Coast after meeting coach Michel Dussuyer last month.

The Ivorian Football Federation published a picture of the player meeting the coach and the federation president and posing with an Ivorian shirt.

The Crystal Palace winger played for England against Sweden and Scotland in November 2012 and August 2013 but remained eligible for the Ivory Coast because he had not represented England in a competitive fixture.

The Ivorians host a 10-day camp in Abu Dhabi after which they head to Oyem in Gabon where they are competing in group C against the Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco and Togo, starting on January 16

The squad also includes Manchester United defender Eric Bailly, recently recovered from injury, and Stoke City striker Wilfried Bony.

Zaha’s new Palace boss, Sam Allardyce, will sit down with him this week in the hope that the player will not travel to play in the African Cup of Nations for the Ivory Coast in January.

Crystal Palace have been preparing to lose the player who will be absent for up to five weeks if Ivory Coast reach the final.

Allardyce took over as Crystal Palace manager last week and has made it one of his priorities to speak to the winger about his plans.

He concedes that it would be a huge blow to lose the player during such a crucial point of the season as he tries to steer Palace clear of relegation.

Ivory Coast provisional squad

Goalkeepers: Sylvain Gbohuo (TP Mazembe – DR Congo), Badra Sangare (AS Tanda – Ivory Coast), Mande Sayouba (Stabaek – Norway)

Defenders: Serge Aurier (PSG – France), Mamadou Bagayoko (St Trond VV – Belgium), Eric Bailly (Manchester United – England), Simon Deli (Slavia Prague – Czech Rep), Ousmane Viera Diarrassouba (Adanaspor – Turkey), Wilfried Kanon (ADO La Haye – Netherlands), Lamine Kone (Sunderland AFC – England), Adama Traore (Basel – Switzerland)

Midfielders: Victorien Angban (Grenade – Spain), Cheik Doukoure (FC Metz – France), Franck Kessie (Atalanta – Italy), Yao Serge N’guessan (AS Nancy – France), Geoffroy Serey Die (FC Bâle – Switzerland), Jean Michael Seri (OGC Nice – France)

Forwards: Wilfried Bony (Stoke City FC – England), Max Gradel (Bournemouth – England), Salomon Kalou (Hertha Berlin – Germany), Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa – England), Nicolas Pepe (Angers – France), Giovanni Sio (Stade Renne – France), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace – England).

-By Daily Mail-

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