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Cote dIvoire target points, not praise

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MALABO – Cote dIvoire fans might be hoping for a more dazzling performance from their side when they take on Burkina Faso in their 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Group B game today, but all coach Francois Zahoui wants is three points.

The Elephants were criticised for their display in the 1-0 win over Sudan in their opening fixture on Sunday, but Zahoui says all that was important was that they got their campaign off to a winning start. He is willing to win this Nations Cup ugly.

“I know through experience that when Ivory Coast won the Nations Cup in 1992, we played extra-time in three games and won on penalties, he told reporters.

We are favourites and everyone expects to win easily but I work on the basis of respecting the opponents.

“When Greece won the Euro 2004 in Portugal, everyone said it was a fantastic achievement, but when we play that way, they don’t like it.

“I’m going to install a winning mentality and make sure we learn the lessons of the past. My mission is to take the cup back to Abidjan. My players are going to suffer and are going to win matches.”

So despite the array of attacking talent at their disposal, dont be surprised to see the Ivorians again grind out a result against the Burkinabe.

Burkina Faso are still smarting following defeat to Angola. Coach Paulo Duarte criticised the way Angola were allowed to waste time near the end to secure the result and criticised what he sees as unfair treatment of his side.

The Burkinabe can draw heart, however, from the fact they held the Ivorians to a goalless draw when the two sides met at the group stage at the last Nations Cup finals in Angola.

But it was the Ivorians who went through the group and Burkina Faso who were knocked out.

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