Afcon 2021: Ivory Coast recall Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha in action for Ivory Coast
Wilfried Zaha has played for Ivory Coast at two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has been included in the Ivory Coast squad for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.

However, Palace manager Patrick Vieira insisted Zaha wanted to continue to play for The Elephants.

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly is also in the 28-man squad, but there is no place for his club team-mate Amad Diallo.

Winger Diallo, 19, has played just once this season for United – in their 1-1 draw with Young Boys of Switzerland in a Champions League group match on 8 December.

Ivory Coast coach Patrice Beaumelle said in August he hoped that Diallo would be able to go out on loan in order to get more playing time.

Beaumelle will be hoping Sebastien Haller’s fine form can continue, with Ajax’s former West Ham striker having had a record-breaking season in the Champions League, scoring 10 goals so far.

Former France youth international Maxwel Cornet could be another key player after impressing for Premier League club Burnley this season. Wolves defender Willy Boly, Fulham midfielder Jean Michael Serri and Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe are also included.

Four Italy-based players are on the list with AC Milan’s Franck Kessie and Lazio’s Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro joined by Sassuolo pair Hamed Traore and Jeremie Boga.

Ivory Coast, who won the second of their two Africa Cup of Nations titles in 2015, begin their Group E campaign in Cameroon against Equatorial Guinea on 12 January before playing Sierra Leone and defending champions Algeria.

Ivory Coast squad for Afcon 2021

Goalkeepers: Sylvain Gbohouo (Wolkite Ketema, Ethiopia), Badra Ali Sangare (JDR Stars, South Africa), Abdoul Karim Cisse (Asec Mimosas, Ivory Coast), Ira Eliezer Tape (San Pedro, Ivory Coast).

Defenders: Serge Aurier (Villarreal, Spain), Eric Bailly (Manchester United, England), Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England), Wilfried Kanon (Pyramids, Egypt), Odilon Kossounou (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Simon Deli (Adana Demirspor, Turkey), Ghislain Konan (Reims, France).

Midfielders: Habib Maiga (Metz, France), Maxwel Cornet (Burnley, England), Serey Die (Sion, Switzerland), Ibrahim Sangare (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro (Lazio, Italy), Franck Kessie (AC Milan, Italy), Hamed Traore and Jeremie Boga (both Sassuolo, Italy), Max Gradel (Sivasspor, Turkey), Jean Michael Seri (Fulham, England).

Forwards: Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace, England), Jean Evrard Kouassi (Trabzonspor, Turkey), Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal, England), Sebastien Haller (Ajax, Netherlands), Christian Kouame (Anderlecht, Belgium), Yohan Boli (Al-Rayyan, Qatar), Karim Konate (Asec Mimosas, Ivory Coast).