Zaha included in Elephants provisional squad

Wilfried Zaha has been included in Michel Dussuyer’s provisional Ivory Coast squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, that also includes Manchester United’s Eric Bailly.

Gareth Southgate was hoping to convince the Crystal Palace winger to reject his country of birth to hold out for an England call-up.

The 24-year-old already has two England caps after playing in a match against Sweden in 2012 and Scotland in 2013, but as they were both friendly matches, he remains free to choose between both countries.

Bailly has also made the grade, alongside Stoke's Wilfried Bony, Sunderland's Lamine Kone and former Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou, now with Hertha Berlin.

Former Arsenal forward Gervinho is one notable absentee, as he misses out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury. He currently plies his trade with Hebei Fortune in China.

After naming his squad, that will see one player axed ahead of the tournament that kicks off in Gabon on 14 January, coach Dussuyer said: "Gervinho's absence weighs down on us, for sure. 

"But we have had several weeks to get used to the idea. The arrival of Zaha is therefore great news. His profile is similar to Gervinho's."

The Elephants head to a training camp in Abu Dhabi on 2 January, with Dussuyer adding: "One of the challenges facing us in camp will be that some of the players will be rested and others – those playing in England – will be tired and in need of some rest."

The full 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, Netherlands), Lamine Kone (Sunderland, England), Adama Traore (Basel, Switzerland)

Midfielders: Victorien Angban (Grenada, Spain), Cheik Doukoure (Metz, France), Franck Kessie (Atalanta, Italy), Yao Serge N'guessan (AS Nancy, France), Geoffroy Serey Die (Basel, Switzerland), Jean Michael Seri (Nice, France)

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

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