Ivory Coast will take on Namibia in the 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan) Group B game at the Stade de Marrakech in Morocco on Sunday.
The Elephants booked their place in the finals after beating Niger on the away goals rule followed a 2-2 draw on aggregate in the second round of qualification last August.
This will be Ivory Coast’s fourth appearance in the competition having participated in the 2009 finals as tournament hosts.
Ivory Coast coach Kamara Ibrahim is hoping to guide the West African side to the knockout stages of this year’s finals.
“We will put ourselves in a real situation of high competition. Internationally, there are other difficulties,” Ibrahim said on Sport-Ivoire.ci.
“These are other challenges. It’s a bit more complicated. But the second stage will allow us to really see our players.”
Ibrahim will be assisted by Ivorian football legend Kolo Toure. The Elephants have never won the Chan title having finished third in 2016 in Rwanda.
Meanwhile, Namibia reached the finals after defeating Comoros 3-2 on aggregate in the third round of qualification last August.
The Brave Warriors will be making their debut appearance in the continental competition which exclusively features players from respective national championships.
Emilio Martin, Namibia’s defender-cum-midfielder says they are more than capable of reaching the knock-out stages.
“Even though we are underdogs in the championship, I believe we will win our first game,” Martin told the NFA website.
“I trust in our individual talents, and I believe that the technical team has done its best to try and incorporate all the different skills and techniques that the players have in one team.”
The Brave Warriors will be under the guidance of Ricardo Mannetti. Zambia and Uganda will clash in another Group B game on Sunday at 9:30 pm.