By Samindra Kunti
January 6 – Defending champions Ivory Coast have been given a financial boost ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon.
The government of Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara has approved a near €6 million budget for the team’s campaign in Africa’s flagship tournament. The team’s new budget is an increase of €600,000 from the last finals in Equatorial Guinea two years ago.
In Group C Ivory Coast have been paired with Togo, DR Congo and Morocco. They kick off their tournament against Togo on January 16 in Oyem. The Elephants are once more among the top favorites to win the tournament and are expected to progress from the group stages with ease.
In the final of the 2015 African Cup of Nations Ivory Coast defeated Ghana on penalties. Earlier this week the two-time champions embarked on a training camp in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. They will face Sweden in a friendly on January 8 before completing their preparations with a friendly against Uganda, another Nations Cup-bound side, three days later.
If Ivory Coast were to win the latest installment of the African Cup of Nations, they will bag $4 million in prize money, a 64% increase from the previous $1.5 million. The tournament will begin January 14, culminating with the final on February 5.
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