MALABO, Equatorial Guinea — Ivory Coast coach Francois Zahoui has asked his star players to forget the pampered surroundings at their European clubs and embrace the harsher realities of the African Cup of Nations.
Africa's top-ranked team opened its campaign with an unconvincing 1-0 win against Sudan on Sunday.
Zahoui says he has asked his players to be "very humble" during the campaign in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
The Ivory Coast coach says "you might play for Barcelona or Arsenal or Chelsea or Manchester" but the national team is still "the highest level you will ever reach."
Acknowledging his team is favorite, Zahoui says opponents have an advantage because they "have nothing to lose."
Ivory Coast plays Burkina Faso in its second Group B match on Thursday.