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 By John Duerden

African icons Didier Zokora and Michael Essien face off in Indonesia

Jason Dasey and Stanley Bernard discuss the success of Peter Odemwingie, Michael Essien and Didier Zokora in Indonesia's top flight.
Jason Dasey and Brad Maloney discuss the arrival of Michael Essien and Carlton Cole to Indonesian side, Persib Bandung.
TCL presents the story of Indonesian footballer Martunis, who after the 2004 Tsunami was offered the chance to meet Cristiano Ronaldo and train with Sporting Lisbon.

They have met in Wembley cup finals, the Premier League and the African Cup of Nations. But on Saturday night, two legends of the African game, Didier Zokora, of Ivory Coast, and Michael Essien, of Ghana, will renew an old rivalry in Indonesia.

Essien and his unbeaten Persib Bandung team travel from their base in Java to Semen Padang in Sumatra for a clash that will feature two of the biggest stars -- both recently arrived -- of Southeast Asian football.

Semen PadangSemen Padang
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Former Chelsea favourite Essien has tended...

 By Mark Gleeson

Managers vs. media becoming 'must-see TV' at African Nations Cup

Avram Grant is more capable than most of handling tough questions. But other coaches are feeling the strain.

Pep Guardiola might have been mildly upset when the BBC began their post-match interview last weekend with a question about the refereeing, but at the African Nations Cup, the parade of coaches before the press is fraught with animosity and tension, often becoming a forum for frequent clashes. There is little subtlety with reporters as they interrogate national team coaches before and after games. Winning usually means the edge is taken off any aggressive tone, but the vanquished managers face...

 By Nick Ames

Ivory Coast's African Nations Cup exit: Why reigning champions flopped

Defending champions Ivory Coast fell to a shock group stage exit from the African Nations Cup when they lost 1-0 to Morocco on Tuesday night.

Here are three reasons why they failed ...

1. An inexperienced team lacked leaders

Whether or not retired brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure delivered every time for their country, nobody could deny the influence they wielded.

Ivory Coast lacked the characters to pull them through in times of trouble. Only eight of the squad that won the 2017 tournament were in...

 By Nick Ames

Unfinished stadiums, political unrest becloud great football at AFCON

The Malian fans roared and, just for a moment, you felt the gold-coloured roof might lift off Stade de Port-Gentil. Their team had been threatening an equaliser in the Group D fixture against Ghana for most of the second half; a late corner was a chance to increase the pressure and from behind the goal came that fevered, visceral sense of a crowd trying to will the ball into the net.

It did not happen for Mali, largely due to the excellence of the Ghana goalkeeper Razak Brimah, but for the impartial...

 By Nick Ames

Defending champions Ivory Coast stutter vs. Togo, Emmanuel Adebayor

Wilfried Zaha is now cap-tied after starting for Ivory Coast.
Wilfried Zaha showed flashes of quality but it wouldn't be enough for the Ivory Coast to defeat Togo.

OYEM, Gabon -- Three points from a surprising 0-0 draw for the Ivory Coast as they begin their African Nations Cup defence...

1. Ivory Coast begin title defence with a stutter

All in all, Ivory Coast stuttered on a night that did little to suggest they will have a straightforward run to a second successive Africa Cup of Nations title. Unfancied Togo deserved their goalless draw and increased their own chances of progressing from Group B; this result was hardly a disaster for the Elephants, but...

 By Nick Ames

Ivory Coast start African Nations Cup defence expecting win over Togo

Two years ago, when goalkeeper Boubacar Barry scored the penalty that won Ivory Coast a first African Nations Cup since 1992, there was barely a dry eye among those who understood exactly what it meant. This was the crowning moment for the remains of a vaunted "golden generation" whose powers were on the verge of expiry and a barely conceivable triumph for Barry, the veteran who had often been viewed as a weak link in the Elephants' attempts to be a world power.

If that was the last roar of a group...