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Jan 19, 2012

Tiote: It's Ivory Coast's time to triumph

Ivory Coast midfielder Cheik Tiote believes his side have what it takes to end the country's 20-year wait for African Nations Cup glory.

• Zambia tragedy inspires new breed

In recent years, the Elephants have always been among the favourites for Africa's continental crown but have fallen short on each occasion.

At the 2010 tournament, they led Algeria 2-1 in the quarter-finals but conceded a stoppage-time equaliser and went on to lose in extra-time, suffering a surprise exit.

With the Algerians, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Cameroon all failing to qualify for this year's finals, Ivory Coast are firm bookmakers' favourites to emerge victorious in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, and Tiote is determined to see his side live up to that billing.

"We have great players so we have to win something - we have to win this Cup of Nations,'' Tiote said. "Every time there is an African tournament people tell us that we are favourites to win, but when you look at our trophy cabinet there is nothing there. Absolutely nothing.''

Despite the absence of several leading nations, Ivory Coast striker Dider Drogba believes his country still have a tough task on their hands to end their long wait to win the event for a second time - their only previous triumph coming after a dramatic 11-10 penalty shootout victory over Ghana in 1992.

"I think the 2012 Cup of Nations will be very difficult, perhaps even more difficult than previous editions,'' he said. "Our ambition is to improve on two years ago when we were eliminated in the quarter-finals.''

Ivory Coast have been drawn in Group B alongside Angola, Burkina Faso and Sudan, who they face in their opening match in Malabo on Sunday.

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