As Ivory Coast prepare to head to South Africa on January 19 for the Africa Cup of Nations, FRANCE 24 spoke with the team’s star player and captain Didier Drogba, who said he hopes to be adding the tournament trophy to his list of accomplishments.
Didier Drogba is known for a number of things – his stunning football career, his charitable work and perhaps most of all, his ego. As the 34-year-old striker prepares to lead Ivory Coast’s Elephants to South Africa for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations later this month, he couldn’t help but quip on his team’s status as the tournament favourite.
“Of course we’re the favourites,” Drogba told FRANCE 24. “We couldn’t be FIFA’s highest ranked African country and not be considered the number one team in an African tournament. Even though we’re the big favourites, if we don’t win…”
Ivory Coast is among the top 20 nations in the world according to FIFA, which ranks the team 14th, ahead of both France and Brazil.
Ready for a comeback
Despite the Elephants sterling reputation, they lost the previous Africa Cup of Nations in 2012 to Zambia. The defeat remains a bitter memory for Drogba, who hopes his team will fare better this year.
“There are still a lot of trophies I want to win and the Africa Cup of Nations is at the top of my list. We’ve been chasing after it for years and it would be great to finally to get it,” he said.
The former Chelsea player also said he was excited about the prospect of returning to South Africa, a country that holds a special place in his heart.
“It’s really something for me to play there. I have a lot of memories of South Africa. I had the opportunity to go in 2009 for the Confederations Cup, and was able to meet Nelson Mandela. Afterwards, I had the chance to go back again for the 2010 World Cup. It’s really a country that I love a lot,” Drogba said.
Ivory Coast made it to the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations in both 2006 and 2012, but the country hasn’t won the championships in over 20 years, despite a star-filled team.
Placed in group D, the Elephants are due to play their first match against Togo on January 22 in the northeastern city of Rustenburg.
Date created : 2013-01-11