Preview: Ivory Coast vs. Gabon – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday’s World Cup Qualifying – Africa clash between Ivory Coast and Gabon, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

The top two sides in Group F go head-to-head on Friday when Ivory Coast play host to Gabon at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Both sides come into this one after victories in their opening two qualifiers and will be looking to maintain their winning form.

Match preview

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Following their successful hosting and victory in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament earlier this year, Ivory Coast will be aiming to continue their good form in the World Cup qualifiers.

The Elephants are the highest scorers after two rounds of matches in the CAF World Cup qualifying series, thanks in large part to their 9-0 win over Seychelles in the first round.

The West Africans followed that up with a 2-0 victory over Gambia a few days later, leaving them with six points and a healthy goal difference at the top of Group F.

However, there has been a change in coach since then, with Emerse Fae taking over from Jean-Louis Gasset after the latter’s struggles during the AFCON group stage. Fae remains undefeated as Ivory Coast’s coach, guiding them to four wins and two draws in six matches, which included four competitive matches and two international friendlies.

The next step will be to build on their strong start to the qualifiers and lead the Elephants to their fourth World Cup appearance. However, it is worth noting that the last time they faced Gabon, back in 2017 during a World Cup qualifier, they lost the game on home soil.

That defeat is the only one Ivory Coast have ever suffered at the hands of Friday’s opponents, having been unbeaten in the first six meetings between the two sides, recording four wins and two draws.

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Gabon got their qualifying campaign off to a perfect start with back-to-back 2-1 victories over Kenya and Burundi.

The Panthers share six points with Friday’s hosts, but sit second in the group due to an inferior goal difference.

Thierry Mouyouma will be hoping his side can replicate their performance on their last visit to Ivory Coast, but the loss to Senegal and the draw against Congo in March highlighted areas for improvement if they want to get a positive result from this game.

However, having won two of their last four competitive away games, the visitors will not be daunted by the challenge.

Ivory Coast World Cup Qualifying – Africa form:

Ivory Coast form (all competitions):

Gabon World Cup Qualifying – Africa form:

Gabon form (all competitions):

Team News

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Rangers midfielder Mohamed Diomande represented Ghana but has chosen to switch to the Ivory Coast, and he could be handed his debut after he was named in the squad.

AFCON hero, Sebastien Haller, is expected to lead the attack and he could be supported by the tournament’s best young player, Simon Adingra and Reims’s Oumar Diakite.

Nottingham Forest defender Serge Aurier and Galatasaray winger Wilfried Zaha, did not make the squad.

Gabon’s chances will be boosted by the return of Marseille’s in-form striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Los Angeles FC forward Denis Bounga, is another one to watch as he is lighting up the MLS this year with eight goals in 13 matches.

Ivory Coast possible starting lineup:
Fofana; Singo, Boly, Diomande, Ismael; Seri, Kessie; Pepe, Diakite, Haller, Adingra

Gabon possible starting lineup:
Noubi; Obiang, Appindangoye, Ecuele Manga, Oyono; Biteghe, Kanga, Lemina; Bouanga, Allevinah, Aubameyang

We say: Ivory Coast 2-1 Gabon

Undoubtedly the biggest fixture in this group, both sides will be hoping to sustain their unbeaten run. However, Ivory Coast will have the home support to their advantage and this might help them edge it against a stubborn Gabonese team.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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