African Cup of Nations 2015: Ivory Coast favourites even without Didier Drogba

Cameroon and Ivory Coast without their most famous strikers for first time in a decade

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The Independent Football

Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o will be notable for their absence when the final group at the African Cup of Nations kicks off on Monday.

First up at the Malabo Stadium is Guinea against Ivory Coast, without Drogba, while the second Group D match will pit Mali against Cameroon, who are playing without Eto’o. The Chelsea and Everton strikers, both retired from internationals, are missing from the tournament for the first time in a decade, but Ivory Coast remain favourites to win the cup, with Cameroon also fancied.

Taking over as the leader of Ivory Coast this time is Manchester City’s Yaya Touré, who recently matched Eto’o – reported to be moving to the Italian club Sampdoria – by winning a fourth African player of the year award.

For Cameroon, the player most likely to replace Eto’o is the tall and quick Porto striker Vincent Aboubakar.

Ivory Coast should see off Guinea but Cameroon could struggle against Mali, who have lost in the semi-finals of the last two African Cups.