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Kalou: Ivory Coast ready to come good at long last

Ivory Coast's golden generation have the perfect chance to condemn past failures to history when they take on Zambia in tomorrow's African Cup of Nations final in Gabon.

Since winning the tournament in 1992, they have made the final only once, losing on penalties to Egypt six years ago, and went out in the quarter-finals in 2010, despite being able to call on a string of players with top European clubs.

Ivory Coast's cautious approach this time has attracted criticism but the insistence on putting a priority on defence has paid dividends for their coach, François Zahoui. The Ivorians have yet to concede a goal in the tournament, co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

The Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou said: "We are better organised than before and we have players who can score at any moment – Gervinho, Didier Drogba, myself. We can all make a difference."

Zambia do not have star players and their coach, Frenchman Hervé Renard, said they had travelled under the radar to reach the final.

Their captain, Chris Katongo, who plays club football in China, said: "We have to take this cup, this is an opportunity. This is the greatest moment ever a player can have, to play in the final. It doesn't come every day."