Africa’s top footballer, Didier Drogba, won’t be playing in the World Cup, due to a last-minute injury. Our heart goes out to the Ivorians: their team, and the tournament, will be the poorer for his absence.
Cote d’Ivoire’s star striker and captain, Didier Drogba, is, probably, out of the World Cup. He was injured in a friendly against Japan on Friday, after clashing with defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka. Some news reports suggest Drogba’s right elbow is fractured, although this has yet to be officially confirmed.
Ivorian coach Sven Goren Erikssen was quoted by SkySports as saying: “It’s an elbow injury but we don’t know how bad it is, we (are going) straight to the hospital… If it’s serious, it’s very worrying; he is our captain, one of the best strikers in the world.”
Erikssen wasn’t exaggerating – Drogba is currently ranked number three in the world, and is a crucial part of the Ivorian team. In the 2006 World Cup in Germany he scored his country’s first ever goal in the competition. And he’s gone on record as having great ambitions for the 2010 tournament. “If we can get through the group stages, I think we have a very strong chance. It’s important that we do well as a nation, but if I can win the World Cup Golden Boot as well, then it would be amazing.”
It’s a huge pity for Drogba, his country, and his fans, that he won’t get a shot at achieving this dream. We,’ll miss him dearly – and so will his team. Cote d’I’voire is in Group G for the World Cup, which includes Brazil, Portugal, and North Korea, and it was always going to be a tough group, even with Drogba leading from the front. Now it truly is the group of death for the Ivorians.
Ps – Cote d’Ivoire beat Japan 2-0, but no one cares.
By Theresa Mallinson
Photo: Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba lies injured during the international friendly soccer match against Japan in Sion June 4, 2010. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Watch: Drogba injures his arm – Japan vs Ivory Coast Friendly 4/6/2010 (commentary in Portuguese)