Connect with us

Africa Cup of Nations

Wilfried Zaha shows dedication to Ivory Coast for qualifying dead rubber

Wilfried Zaha shows dedication to Ivory Coast for qualifying dead rubber

Wilfried Zaha is facing a 6,400-mile round trip to the Ivory Coast for a qualifying dead rubber despite the Crystal Palace winger still recovering from injury.

This clearly shows dedication to his team despite the club urging him not to travel for the game the player has resolved to travel and be part of the team.

Zaha set off on Wednesday to join his international team-mates, three days after Roy Hodgson said Palace would have to carefully manage their best player’s hamstring issue.

The 26-year-old missed training last week because of the problem and was absent for Palace’s FA Cup quarter-final loss to Watford at the weekend.

Wilfried Zaha missed Crystal Palace's defeat at Watford on Saturday with a hamstring injury

Wilfried Zaha missed Crystal Palace’s defeat at Watford on Saturday with a hamstring injury

It remains to be seen whether Zaha will be fit to face Rwanda on Saturday, who are bottom of Group H in the African Cup of Nations qualifying.

Ivory Coast have already qualified but reserve the right to assess Zaha themselves. There remains the unusual possibility they could send Zaha back home if they deem him unable to play.

Their AFCON qualifier this Saturday will be played in Abidjan, which is 3,200 miles from London and takes around eight hours by plane.

They also face Liberia in a friendly the following Tuesday.

Zaha, pictured in action for his country in 2017, has been capped nine times by the Ivory Coast.

Palace face Huddersfield in the Premier League next on March 30. Hodgson still considers his side in a fight for survival as they sit just five points above the bottom three.

The 71-year-old had hoped Zaha could use this international break to rest and recover from his problem.

Speaking after their loss to Watford, Hodgson said on Zaha: ‘You never know with hamstring injuries and strains.

‘You have to be very careful especially with players as explosive as Wilfred Zaha.’ 

More in Africa Cup of Nations