Gervinho seeks redemption in South Africa

Gervinho will seek redemption at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Arsenal forward has been called up to the Ivory Coast squad for this year’s tournament in South Africa and he is determined to make amends for the 2012 final, when he missed the decisive penalty as the Elephants lost to Zambia.

That 8-7 shoot-out defeat took some getting over but it has given Gervinho an added incentive to help Ivory Coast ended their 21-year wait for the African title.

“I am very excited and I am even more motivated than last year where we lost in the final and got denied that trophy that we have been waiting for so long,” he told Arsenal.com.

“We have the chance to redeem ourselves. We are determined to win it this year and free us from that spell which has been on us for a long time.

“It [the penalty miss last year] was very tough. I tried not to think about it. It should have been a great moment and it turned into a nightmare. It was frustrating. My aim is to redeem myself this time and I know I will do it.

“I missed my penalty last year but this time I will score the winner to offer the trophy to Ivory Coast. I have faith in myself and my team-mates. This year will be the one for us.”

Ivory Coast begin their Cup of Nations campaign against Togo on January 22 and also face Tunisia and Algeria in Group D. The Elephants, finalists in two of the last four tournaments, are among the favourites again.

“We will aim to win every game until the end,” said┬áGervinho. “We are not getting carried away and thinking of the final yet but we want to stay focused for each game, and not panic.

“We learnt a lot from the defeat last season. We know we need to avoid the penalty kicks as we donÔÇÖt have good takers, especially me!

“This is our European Championship. ItÔÇÖs the competition of the Africans. ItÔÇÖs the only competition that the African fans are really passionate about even if they love the domestic European leagues, the Champions League or the World Cup.

“This is their competition and they all want to win it. Each country and each president wants this trophy. ItÔÇÖs very special for us.”