08 - 10
By Guillaume Mahot
November 6th will decide of everything for both Morocco and Ivory Coast, respectively ranking first and second in their group of qualifiers for World Cup 2018 in Russia. Morocco, 9 points, and the Elephants, 8 points, will meet up in Abidjan for this crucial game, but things could have been so much easier for Marc Wilmots’s players!
After a piteous defeat in Bouaké last month (1-2) against Gabon while they had won comfortably 3-0 in Libreville one week earlier, Ivory Coast had to win in Bamako, Mali, yesterday to leave Morocco far away and wait for the ultimate game with more quietness, but things did not happen that way. Disturbed by Mali in a game where they did not show much, the Elephants left Mali with a draw 0-0. The day after, Morocco was beating Gabon with a hat trick from Boutaïb and overtaking Ivory Coast in the ranking.
Within a month, the Moroccans could even make do with a draw in Abidjan to pass and see Russia next year. The Elephants are compelled with winning, which is not done at all when you see the way they play, or the way they don’t play we should say. The injured ones (Gervinho, Seri, Bony, Doumbia) should be present but if Serge Aurier’s teammates don’t make it, very few people will bet on an Ivorian future for the Belgian coach, already severely criticized in Abidjan.