Ivory Coast needs careful rebuild – Kalou
Ivory Coast do not need to completely overhaul their squad to compete at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, according to former international Salomon Kalou.
The West Africans, who became continental champions for the second time in 2015, are set to host the tournament next year in June and July.
The country’s football federation (FIF) decided not to renew the contract of coach Patrice Beaumelle after missing out on the World Cup play-offs and a last-16 exit from this year’s Nations Cup, in Cameroon.
“We don’t have to throw away all the good things, but we can make better the things we were lacking,” ex-Chelsea forward Kalou told BBC Sport Africa
“There are some great things we did in the past cup. We lost against Egypt on penalties but Egypt, a very tough opponent with a good level, reached the final.
“So let’s not question everything that we have done but work on what didn’t work.”
However, the 36-year-old believes the Elephants must find the right coach to succeed Beaumelle in order to compete on home soil next year.
“We need to find a good coach, then this coach would create balance between old and young players,” the 36-year-old added.
“We have to build a team, because to perform in this type of competition you need a team, one player can’t do everything. Without a good team, you just cannot win a tournament.”
Ivory Coast will be involved in the qualifiers for the 2023 Nations Cup, despite being already assured of a spot at the tournament as hosts.
The Elephants will face 2012 champions Zambia, 2021 surprise package Comoros and Lesotho in Group H, and Kalou thinks their six matches will provide a chance to build a team to compete for a third African crown.
“I think this is a way of preparing ourselves because we are not playing to qualify, we are playing to prepare a team,” he said.
“It’s a challenge for the new coach coming in, he has to build a competitive team.”
“As the host of the competition, we have to go all the way.”
“Once you are playing at home, you get extra motivation from the fans. It can be hard pressure but it’s also a positive one because when you play well you have the support of the whole country.”
Kalou says everyone in the country is “excited” to host the Nations Cup.