Preview: Cote d'Ivoire wary of potential Guinea Bissau 'trap' in opener


Host nation Cote d'Ivoire will be on high alert for a potential giant-killing when they face Guinea-Bissau in Saturday's TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2023 curtain-raiser.

The Elephants are heavy favourites for the Group A clash against a Djurtus side never to have won an Afcon game in three previous tournaments.

But coach Jean-Louis Gasset is wary of complacency against opponents with nothing to lose in front of 60,000 fans in Abidjan.

"We cannot underestimate Guinea-Bissau," said Gasset. "In these type of opening games, there is always a risk the underdog is fired up to cause an upset."

Cote d'Ivoire are hoping to emulate the class of 1984 by launching their campaign with a big win as hosts.

That victorious side 39 years ago thrashed Togo 3-0 in Abidjan in the tournament's very first match.

But Bissau will take inspiration from holding Gabon to a 1-1 draw in the 2017 opener and are targeting a famous first Afcon victory.

"We know we can create a sensation against the hosts," insisted Bissau coach Baciro Cande.

The Elephants can call on an array of Europe-based stars like Sebastian Haller, Eric Bailly and Franck Kessie as they eye glory on home soil.

With a squad packed with quality, the Elephants are justified favourites if they can handle the weight of expectation in front of a packed stadium.

But opening games can prove unpredictable and cagey - so Cote d'Ivoire must avoid falling into a Bissau trap that could derail their TotalEnergies CAF campaign.

Cote d'Ivoire v Guinea Bissau
Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Venue: Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Ebimpe