FORMER Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba has rated Zambia among the greatest African teams ever to lift the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) title.
According to the Namibian, Drogba said this when he jetted into Windhoek, Namibia to kick-start a promotional campaign tour of Windhoek Lager.
Addressing a Press conference at Hilton Hotel, the former Elephants skipper said although his generation was good, they faced better opponents from Zambia and Nigeria who went on to lift the coveted AFCON trophy in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
He gave credit to the Chipolopolo and the Super Eagles of Nigeria for having been superior opponents for the Ivoirians whom he captained when they lost the finals to Zambia in 2012 and when they were eliminated a year later in a tournament won by Nigeria.
“I did everything to try to win but sometimes it doesn’t work that way. We played against great opponents when Zambia and Nigeria won the finals. Our generation was good but the opposition was better, so I have to give them credit,” Drogba said.
The Ivorian soccer star said he was proud of having been part of a great Ivory Coast team even though they never won the AFCON trophy.
A star-studded Ivory Coast failed to win the AFCON in 2012 after being beaten by underdogs Zambia on post-match penalties in the finals, while in 2013 they were eliminated by Nigeria in the semi-finals when they went down 2-1.
Drogba likened Ivory Coast’s fortunes to Holland which failed to win anything during the time of Johan Cruyff.
“If you look at Holland during the time of Johan Cruyff, they played the best football but they did not win anything. We also didn’t, so I suppose you can say we had the same kind of luck if you can call it that,” he said.
Drogba advised young football players about the importance of education for them to be successful.
“Only a few make it as professional players but a lot of players don’t make it and don’t know what to do. I had a lot of friends who were more talented than me and who did not make it, so I think it’s important to go to school.”
Organisers of the soccer stars trip to Southern Africa are yet to confirm whether Drogba’s visit would be extended to Zambia.
Millions of Zambian soccer fans watched the live coverage of the epic 2012 AFCON championship which the Chipolopolo won against Drogba’s Ivory Coast 8-7 on post-match penalties in Gabon.
One of the highlights of the scintillating game was a spot kick that Drogba infamously missed when he only had a Zambian goal minder Kennedy Mweene to beat.
Drogba has been selected by Windhoek Lager’s consumers in southern Africa as an African who had achieved world class status but remained true to his roots.
Times of Zambia