Soccer-Ivory Coast Cup of Nations hero Haller to miss next two friendlies

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Africa Cup of Nations - Final - Nigeria v Ivory Coast - Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara, Abidjan, Ivory Coast - February 11, 2024 Ivory Coast's Sebastien Haller celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Luc Gnago/File Photo

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast’s Africa Cup of Nations hero Sebastien Haller will miss his country’s next two internationals this month because of injury, new coach Emerse Fae said on Monday as he named his squad for friendlies against Benin and Uruguay.

Haller, who resurrected his career at Borussia Dortmund after testicular cancer, scored the winner for the Ivorians as they beat Nigeria 2-1 in last month’s final in Abidjan.

He had missed the early stage of the tournament in the Ivory Coast because of an ankle injury but recovered to score two vital goals including the winner in the final as the hosts claimed the title in a fairytale finish.

But the 29-year-old striker is now again sidelined with a similar injury and sits out the first two games for the Ivorians since their Cup of Nations success.

They take on Benin in Amiens on March 23 and then Uruguay at the Bollaert-Delelis Stadium in Lens three days later.

Also missing from last month’s victorious squad is captain Serge Aurier, who moved from Nottingham Forest to Galatasaray in January but has yet to play for his new club because of injury, and Fiorentina forward Christian Kouame, who contracted malaria during the Cup of Nations finals and is still recovering.

Fae named only one newcomer to the squad, right back Guela Doue from Stade Rennais in Ligue 1.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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