Soccer News of Monday, 14 June 2010
Culled from FIFA Official website
Accra, June 14, GNA - C=F4te d'Ivoire captain Didier Drogba appears to be winning his race against time to be fit to play in Tuesday's FIFA World C upT Group G curtain raiser against Portugal.
Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, while stressing no decision about the Chelsea star's participation would be made until a couple of hours before
kick-off, sounded optimistic. "Didier did an excellent training session yesterday [Sunday] and will train again with the whole squad this evening .. I hope he'll be okay, I hope he will be there, but I honestly don't know fo r sure. The only one to say 'yes' or 'no' is really himself."
If Drogba does play it would represent a remarkably swift recovery fr om the injury -- which required surgery -- he suffered in a warm-up match against Japan on June 4. Drogba paved the way to play by having his arm support that he must wear inspected by FIFA officials including Tuesday's
match referee, Uruguay's Jorge Larrionda, in Port Elizabeth on Monday afternoon. Eriksson added: "It's only ten days since he broke his arm. It's may be a short time, but we hope he can play tomorrow. He will take part in the tournament."
Drogba's teammate, Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure, underlined the importance of having the African superstar on the pitch against Portugal, a country ranked third in the world and which reached the semi-finals of th e last FIFA World Cup. "We need him back," said Toure.
"Didier's a very important player for us. He's our captain, we need him. His situation is complicated, but we will find out if he can play tomorrow [Tuesday]." Drogba was later seen to be warming up with the rest of the squad normally before Monday evening's pre-match training session, swinging his
arms about and apparently feeling no discomfort from his injured limb. The 32-year-old striker's presence would be a huge bonus for C=F4te d'Ivoire who are aiming to become only the second African team after Ghana to win their opening match on this the first FIFa World Cup on the African continent. C=F4te d'Ivoire are the last of the six 'home' teams to make their appearance -- South Africa drew the opening match with Mexico, Algeria lo st to Slovenia, Nigeria lost to Argentina, and Japan felled Cameroon. Only Ghana, who beat Serbia, have managed to take three points. Toure reflected: "The standard of teams is very high at this World C up but I hope we can do it. This is only our second World Cup. In 2006 [when
they failed to get past the first round] we didn't have the experience th at we have now. I want to do everything to win at least one game."