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Drogba’s absence opens door

By Tony Ubani, in South Africa
Kolo Toure is confident Ivory Coast can counter the loss of talismanic striker Didier Drogba to injury.
The Chelsea striker looks set to miss the Elephants’ World Cup opener against Portugal on Tuesday after breaking his arm in a pre-tournament warm-up game.

His absence will undoubtedly be felt by the Ivoirians, as he is widely regarded as one of top marksmen in world football.

Sven-Goran Eriksson must be prepared for the worst, though, and is already plotting how to handle the loss of his skipper.

The likes of Salomon Kalou and Seydou Doumbia are in the frame to deputise through the middle, and both have enough experience to handle the responsibility.

They may still only be young, but they are eager to prove their worth and will not shy away from the challenge of replacing Drogba.

Toure, who is set to marshal the back four against Portugal, believes that is good thing and is backing whoever gets the nod to grab the opportunity with both hands.

He insists no international side can afford to rely too heavily on one player and is adamant that Eriksson has enough quality at his disposal to cover for Drogba.

“The Ivorian squad is made up of some world class players but football remains a team game,” Toure said.
The Manchester City centre-half has also praised the work of Eriksson, who has had just three weeks in which to piece together his plans for the finals in South Africa.

He added: “Since he has taken over the squad, the coach has been trying to build a proper team and we are on track.”


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