‘Unready’ Drogba not giving up

Chelsea striker says he will still play for Cote d’Ivoire despite being dropped from Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Saadane has ended his fifth stint as coach of Algeria [GALLO/GETTY]

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba says he is not giving up on playing for Cote d’Ivoire despite being dropped from the squad for being “psychologically unready”.

New national coach Francois Zahoui omitted last season’s English Premier League top-scorer from the team’s Africa Cup of Nations 2012 qualifying win against Rwanda in Abidjan on Saturday.

Zahoui said at the time that after talks with Drogba, he deemed the striker “not psychologically ready to play the game”.

Drogba, who has scored 45 goals in 71 appearances for the West Africans, told French channel TF1 on Sunday that his international career was not over.

“Each time they call me up, I’ll be there,” the 32-year-old said.

It took the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying competition less than 24 hours to claim its first coaching victim with Rabah Saadane quitting after Algeria were held at home by Tanzania.

This was the fifth and surely last time Saadane will leave Les Fennecs after surpassing expectations last year by guiding them to the 2010 World Cup at the expense of fierce rivals Egypt.

Saadane hinted some time ago that the pressures was getting to him and after watching Algeria come from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw with traditional poor-travellers Tanzania on Friday, he announced his exit the following day.

Jerry Tegete fired the visitors in front from a free kick on 32 minutes and after Adlane Guedioura levelled on the stroke of half-time Algeria applied continuous second-half pressure without reward.

Tanzania were not the only team to spring a surprise with international unknown Jose Luis Mendes scoring 14 minutes from full-time to give Guinea Bissau a shock 1-0 home victory over Kenya.

The Harambee Stars flew to the tiny Portuguese-speaking West African country confident of securing maximum points having impressed in away warm-ups, holding Tanzania and comfortably disposing of Ethiopia.

Cape Verde Islands have never played at the biennial showcase of African football and they got off to a satisfactory start by edging Mali 1-0 in Praia courtesy of a late first half goal from Fernando Varela.

It was the first competitive match for Mali coach Alain Giresse, the former France midfield ace harshly fired by Gabon after a first-round exit from the Cup of Nations in Angola in January.

While a Uganda win at home to Angola was not unexpected, the 3-0 Kampala winning margin on a wet, muddy Mandela Stadium pitch was as David Obua, Andy Mwesigwa and Geoffrey Sserunkuma scored.

‘Brilliant’ defeat

New France-born Angola coach Herve Renard boasted pre-match that his footballers were “brilliant”, but there was no signs of genius before a near-capacity 40,000 crowd in the Ugandan capital.

Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa won comfortably at home and World Cup flops Cameroon won away.

English Premier League trio Yaya Toure of Manchester City, Salomon Kalou of Chelsea and Emmanuel Eboue of Arsenal scored the goals that saw the Ivorians beat Rwanda 3-0.

Goals from strikers Katlego Mphela and Bernard Parker earned wasteful South Africa a 2-0 win over Niger in the north-east city of Nelspruit where Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar sparkled.

Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto’o scored a brace for the second international in a row as Cameroon triumphed 3-1 over Mauritius to give high-profile Spanish coach Javier Clemente the perfect start.

Botswana, surprise pacesetters in the only five-team group, boosted chances of a first Nations Cup appearance with a dramatic 2-1 home win against Togo as Jerome Ramatlhakwane snatched the late winner.

Source: AFP


The remotest location in South Africa’s World Cup sees Ghana emerge as a side with a real chance of success.

2 Jul 2010
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