Oceania Football Confederation > News > FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 > Kiwis and Ivorians aim to avoid bottom

Kiwis and Ivorians aim to avoid bottom

As CAF champions they will again be a difficult opponent for the Young All Whites to overcome as both sides try to avoid the bottom of the table.
Already the African side are sitting in a better position with their 1-1 draw against Uruguay earning them a sole point, something the New Zealanders are yet to secure in this tournament.
In order to earn the title Cote d’Ivoire had to get past favourites Nigeria and with the two sides inseparable after 90 minutes it came down to a penalty shootout to divide the sides with the Baby Elephants triumphing 5-4.
“Nothing is easy on earth,” captain Franck Kessie said of the side’s path to qualifier glory.
“We had to stick together to move forward and achieve this for all the people of Cote d’Ivoire. I am proud because we had a hard time winning this trophy, but we dedicate this victory to all the Ivorians.”
Progressing was a team effort with all five of the Ivorians converting from the spot, with Dogbole
Niangbo scoring the decisive fifth after goalkeeper Aboubakar Diabagate saved Chidiebere Nwakali’s effort.
Their qualification campaign was centred on their strength in defence. They scored just five goals in five matches – and more importantly conceded just three.
Kessie maintains the side’s success derives from their cohesiveness as a team.
“We were well looked after during the competition, we want this also to be the case at the World Cup,” he says.
“We will work hard to have our chances. We have to prepare seriously for the World Cup, as it is at a different level. We will not go to the United Arab Emirates to make up the numbers.”
After recording their best ever finish in 1987, when they were finished third, Cote d’Ivoire endured an 18-year wait for their second appearance at the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Their most recent appearance was in Mexico two years ago where they finished runner-up in their group to Brazil but were knocked out of the last 16 by France.
The side may not have the experience of five previous World Cups like the Kiwis but they are a determined bunch with no intention of making up the numbers at UAE 2013.
New Zealand will play the African U-17 champions on 23 October in Abu Dhabi with kick-off scheduled for 17h00 (local time).

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