Africa Cup of Nations 2012: Didier Drogba and Ivory Coast Primed to Take Tourney

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IJanuary 22, 2012

NELSPRUIT, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 25:  Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast gestures during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group G match between North Korea and Ivory Coast at the Mbombela Stadium on June 25, 2010 in Nelspruit, South Africa.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

World class striker Didier Drogba and the Ivory Coast National Football Team are primed to take home the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations this coming February.

The top-ranked African squad comes from one of the best football countries around the globe today, ranking 18th in the FIFA world rankings.

Ivory Coast's group at the Cup features three beatable opponents. They will face off against Sudan, Burkina Faso and Angola en route to the knockout stages which are set to begin on Feb. 4.

All three teams rank outside of the FIFA top 65 and only Sudan has experienced significant success at the Africa Cup of Nations, albeit limited success that happened more than four decades ago.

The group stage will be a breeze for Drogba and company, though, as they went up 1-0 early on Sudan in the Group B opening match. The goal was netted by Drogba in the 39th minute.

But the hunger for a tournament title is what will drive the highest-ranked African nation to a championship in 2012. Ivory Coast has not won the Africa Cup of Nations since 1992, and was ousted in the quarterfinals two years ago.

The emerging football nation has qualified successfully for the past two World Cups, finishing 19th and 17th in 2006 and 2010, respectively.

Ivory Coast has a clear path with Egypt out of the picture to take home its second Africa Cup of Nations in 19 tries.

The captain, Drogba, has already made his presence known, and he will prove to be the best player in the tournament as he scores Ivory Coast to the top of African football.

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