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By NBF News
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Elephants of Ivory Coast Captain, Didier Drogba, says the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations will be the toughest in the history of the tournament despite the absence of three giants. Ahead of Saturday's draw for Africa's biggest football event, the Chelsea's striker insists the Elephants must be prepared to face any country if they want to win the title.

Title holder, Egypt, Nigeria and Cameroon failed to qualify for the continent's flagship tournament. This has prompted many to conclude that the Elephants would win the tournament because of the array of stars they have in their team.

But Drogba says despite the absence of the three big footballing countries, the tournament, to be held in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, will be difficult. 'I think the CAN 2012 tournament will be a very difficult, perhaps even more difficult than previous editions,' said Drogba.

Ivory Coast failed to go beyond the quarter final in the last edition when she was surprisingly eliminated by Algeria. The captain of the Elephants says their first ambition is to go beyond the stage they reached in the last year's tournament in Angola. 'For us, our ambition is to try to do better than we did in Angola in 2010 when we were eliminated at the quarter-finals,' he said.

'It will be important to go beyond the quarter-final, and then we'll see!' The tournament kicks off in Bata, on the Equatorial Guinea mainland, on 21 January, with the final in the Gabonese capital, Libreville, on 12 February.