Ivorian sharp-shooter, Salomon Kalou says Cote d’Ivoire is excited to welcome Africa to the Ivorian nation next year.
With exactly 30 Days to Kick Off, the Arta Solar7 striker spoke to CAFOnline ahead of the much anticipated TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023 set to take place between 13 January – 11 February next year.
We are 30-Days from the start of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations. How excited are you about seeing your nation hosting Africa’s biggest event?
We are happy to welcome all of Africa. We can’t wait to celebrate football. Côte d’Ivoire is a land of football. We had a lot of legends like Didier Drogba, Yaya Touré, Gervinho and so on. Players who made the colours of the country shine for many years. Organizing this AFCON is something very important for us, the last time we hosted this competition was in 1984.
It has been 40 years since Côte d’Ivoire hosted AFCON, which is an eternity for a nation passionate about football like Ivory Coast. There is a lot of passion around this event. I want to thank His Excellency the President of the Republic, Alassane Ouattara, for the infrastructure put in place.
We imagine that as a footballer, you would have liked to play an AFCON tournament at home?
Absolutely! It would have been a dream for me! I would have liked to be in my younger brothers’ place. Wearing the orange jersey, playing in front of my people and my heart beating to the sounds of their encouragement – I get chills just thinking about it.
I am here to encourage the children, to give them all the strength they need. As a supporter, I also plan to take advantage of this good time and enjoy the mix of different cultures.
Côte d’Ivoire headlines Group A with Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria. What are your thoughts on the group?
Firstly, it’s a group made up of very good teams, starting with Nigeria which is a very dangerous side. At each AFCON, the Super Eagles show great potential. During the last edition, Equatorial Guinea did well, and Guinea Bissau may be the surprise of the group.
We will have to respect all the teams and above all, win the first match to start the competition well, because that is where everything starts from.
A message for the Elephants and all of Côte d’Ivoire?
Let us rally behind the team. We need all the good vibes around this team which will give the best of itself. Our selection is made up of young players who need to be supported, and that is what we will do.
SOURCE: CAF ONLINE