2012 Africa Nations Cup qualifier
Rwanda vs Benin
Burundi vs Ivory Coast
Rwanda vs Ivory Coast
AMAVUBI defenders should starting planning on how to contain an even more lethal Elephants’ attack masterminded by Didier Drogba.
The Ivory Coast captain has thrown himself back in the race to face Amavubi in next year’s 2012 Africa Nations Cup qualifiers return leg after dismissing reports that he had retired from international football.
Sections of the Ivorian media stated that the Chelsea star had quit after his absence from the Elephants’ opening 2012 Nations Cup qualifying.
The 32-year-old missed August’s victory over Amavubi when the wasps lost 3-0 to the Elephants in Abidjan and then failed to make Francois Zahoui’s 20-man squad for Saturday’s tie against Burundi.
But the two-time African player of the year, who has never played against Amavubi in a competitive game, told BBC Sport that he has not retired and is now available for selection.
“I don’t know why there’s been any doubt,” Drogba told BBC Sport. “I was just resting as I had two consecutive operations in less than two months.
If the manager calls me for the next game, I’ll be on the plane.”
In June, Drogba had emergency surgery on his elbow to enable him to participate in the World Cup after suffering a fracture in a pre-tournament friendly against South Korea.
Allowed to wear a protective cast by Fifa at Africa’s first finals, Drogba played all three matches, scoring once, but was unable to prevent the Elephants exiting in the first round in South Africa.
Late in July, Drogba then underwent an operation on his groin but recovered in time to contest the Community Shield against victors Manchester United three weeks later.
After next week’s Group H clash in Bujumbura, the Elephants do not play another qualifier until March.
With just one of six qualifying rounds played, the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finalists lead the group with three points.
Drogba is Ivory Coast’s leading goalscorer in history, having netted 45 goals.