Ivory Coast striker Christian Kouame leaves U-23 Nations Cup with knee injury

By Mohamed Fajah BarrieBBC Sport, Sierra Leone
Christian Kouame
Genoa's Christian Kouame got injured playing for Ivory Coast at the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt

Ivory Coast striker Christian Kouame will play no further part in the ongoing Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt because of a knee injury.

The 21-year-old, who made his senior international debut against DR Congo last month, has already left the tournament to return to his Italian Serie A club Genoa for treatment.

Ivory Coast are due to face Ghana in the semi-final on Tuesday where a win will see them qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games men's football tournament.

Kouame picked up the injury in their 1-0 loss to South Africa four days ago, and did not feature in their last group game against Zambia on Friday night which they won 1-0 to qualify for the semi-finals.

"Christian Kouame injured his knee during the match against South Africa and is unable to continue in the competition following the medical examinations that were done," the Ivorian Football Federation said in a statement.external-link

"He has returned to his club to continue his medical care. On his departure he was accompanied by the head of the delegation Mr. Sory Diabate (1st Vice-President of the Ivorian Football Federation) who wished him a speedy recovery."

Kouame scored five goals in Serie A in 11 appearances for Genoa before he left for the U-23 tournament in Egypt early this month.

The second semi-final, also on Tuesday, is between hosts Egypt and South Africa.

The teams that will emerge as champions, runners-up and winners of the third-place match will qualify to represent Africa at the Olympic games.

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