The Chelsea’s hitman says he was never gone from the Elephants…
Thought to have withdrawn from Cote D’Ivoire’s national team, tentatively or definitely, former Captain Didier Drogba, who was not fielded in the Cote D’Ivoire – Rwanda AFCON qualifying match (3-0) played on Saturday in Abidjan, told Telefoot on Sunday that he had never said he was leaving the team.
The Chelsea goal-hunter surprisingly stormed Abidjan on the eve of the Amavubi encounter, receiving a fanfare reception at the Felix Houphouet Boigny International Airport from hundreds of fans. He was seen at the stadium, watching his former team-mates from the bleachers, only to explain his intentions of the visit to the press later on.
“I came here to give my support to the team and silence a lot of rumours,” Drogba told Telefoot. “I’ve always been part of this team and we’ve done some great things together. I wanted to let everyone know my heart is still here and I throw my full support behind the team. Every time I’m called up I’ll be here to play my role.”
The Elephants’ new coach François Zahoui had told the nation at a press conference last week that Drogba told him he was tired and would be taking time out of the team’s engagement to rest and concentrate on his club Chelsea. The local media immediately interpreted this as Drogba’s retirement from the national team.
Attendance for Saturday’s match was considerably poor. Some analysts attributed this to Drogba’s not playing while others felt it was due to the ongoing Muslim fast, which deterred some fans from attending owing to fatigue and dehydration.
Manchester City’s Yaya Touré, Chelsea’s Salomon Kalou and Arsenal’s Emmanuel Eboué’s scored the three goals for Cote D’Ivoire.