CAIRO – Ivory Coast coach Ibrahim Kamara's team selections raised eyebrows throughout the Africa Cup of Nations but even after their quarter-final exit to Algeria he stuck to his guns, saying they had laid the foundations for a bright future.
The Ivorians, who lost in a penalty shootout after drawing 1-1 in Suez on Thursday, had the potential to light up the tournament but never quite got the best out of their top players Nicolas Pepe and Wilfried Zaha.
Crystal Palace speedster Zaha was a surprise omission from the starting line-up in two group matches, while Kamara left Pepe out of the side for Thursday’s game.
Pepe’s 22 goals for Lille in the last Ligue 1 season have made him a transfer target for several top clubs but he was unable to find the net in Egypt.
Zaha gave fleeting glimpses of his ability when selected but a lack of consistency was always going to make things difficult.