Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has scored his first goal for Côte d’Ivoire since switching national team allegiances from England.
The 24-year-old contributed to a 3-0 friendly international win over Uganda at the New York University Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Three second half goals were enough to overpower fellow 2017 Africa Cup of Nations competitors Uganda, with the Cranes unable to respond to a fierce response after half time.
Jonathan Kodjia opened the scoring for the Elephants in the 51st minute before Zaha pounced in the 72nd minute with his first strike since confirming his switch to the Ivorian national team. Serge Aurier turned from provider to goal scorer three minutes after Zaha’s goal to complete the 3-0 scoreline.
Zaha was born in Abidjan but moved to the UK when he was only four, growing up in the country and eventually earning two caps for England in 2013. Both of those appearances were as a substitute in friendly matches and not competitive games, so he was able to confirm a switch to his country of birth.The former Manchester United player is showing comfort in his new role within Michel Dussuyer’s squad ahead of the 2017 AFCON, where the West Africans will be aiming to defend the title they won two years ago.
He provided an assist on his debut for the Elephants in a 2-1 victory over Sweden this month, and he has now opened his account for the side.
Côte d’Ivoire are drawn in AFCON Group D alongside Togo, Morocco and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Elephants begin their title defence with an encounter against Togo on Monday, January 16.