Having a good instrument is one thing; knowing how to use it is another. This was the philosophy Zidane echoed regarding the current Ivory Coast football team while answering readers’ questions for French magazine France Football this week in Paris.
The 1998 World Cup champion with France sees no other team in Africa who are endowed with more top players than the Ivory Coast’s Elephants.
“I have faith in the Ivorian team because their players have proved themselves in top European leagues. The Elephants have a chance in this World Cup,” Zidane said.
Yet, just as many analysts have alleged recently, Zidane considers the Ivory Coast’s Group G alongside Brazil, Portugal and North Korea, a hard nut to crack.
“It’s going to be difficult for the Ivorians because they inherited a complicated group,” the former Real Madrid powerhouse admitted.
The group has been tagged the Group of Death, but 'Zizou' has advised the West Africans on what to do in order to avoid getting buried in their section.
“The Ivorians should kick off their World Cup in a very high spirit, winning their first match imperatively, or else, it will be sad,” Zidane warned.
But much of the load will be on the head of coach, Vahid Halilhodzic, according to Zidane, because the Bosnian-French trainer has in his possession a group of players capable of going far in South Africa come next summer.
“The ball is in the court of the Ivorian coach. He has the men; he only needs to know how to use them. The team can withstand Brazil if the coach knows what to do,” Zidane affirmed.
As for the other African representatives at the forthcoming World Cup, Zidane sees only Cameroon as a team who can be counted.
“Cameroon can possibly do well, even if not as well as the Ivory coast. They are a strong team too,” he said.
The 1998 Ballon d’Or winner finally warned that it would be a great waste for the African continent if the Ivorian coach failed to exploit his team successfully.
Kingsley Kobo, Goal.com