News of Didier Drogba’s fatal elbow injury has cast a dark cloud over the month long FIFA World Cup tournament that is scheduled to begin in 6 days. The entire continent is now bringing itself to terms with the fact that one of its brightest and most iconic stars won’t be part of this history making event.
This brings to 3 the number of Chelsea players who will miss out on the South African experience, Essien and Ballack being the other 2. I can only imagine how the locals in the west African nation are coping with the news.
Ivory Coast without Drogba is like a bulldog with no teeth. Harmless! And to be honest, i am starting to doubt if they will be effective against Brazil and Portugal. So who is to blame? Drogba, Eriksson? With emotions already starting to reach boiling point, Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson will have to ensure that his team remain focused on the task ahead.
Neither of the two should be blamed however, this should be a good lesson to other sides that you should not put the fitness of you star players at risk with non-consequential friendlies especially before tournaments of huge importance like these where the stakes are very high.
According to Castrol rankings, Drogba is the third best player in the world and one of the most lethal strikers at least when on form. So with all its talent, the Ivory Coast will now have to learn how to play as a team, an art they have never mastered.
Filling Drogba’s shoes won’t be easy, however, if the Elephants realise the importance of team work and properly utilise the effect of the 12th man (the fans), then they should be able to make it through their group of death. Moreover, their 2-0 win over Japan yesterday should be a huge motivator.
Photo credit: from Stefan Meisel