Drogba’s mum cooks up Ivorian favorites for fans

Didier Drogba’s mother spent Monday preparing traditional west

African food for a group of 60 traveling Ivory Coast fans at the

African Cup.

Clotilde Drogba works in a makeshift kitchen at a dusty stadium

on the outskirts of Malabo cooking Ivorian dishes such as chicken

and fish with rice, plantains, potatoes and spicy sauces.

”Everyone has their thing and what they like to do,” Clotilde

said. ”This is what I like to do – be helpful to people. I would

support my son doing anything whether he was famous or not. This

isn’t about my son, it’s about supporting my country.”

Clotilde also prepared food for fans at the 2006 World Cup in

Germany.

Tournament favorite Ivory Coast already qualified for the

quarterfinals before its final Group B match against Angola on

Monday.

While the Chelsea star and his teammates got ready at a luxury

hotel outside town, Clotilde sat on a bench in the dirt-floor

kitchen chopping raw chicken with a cleaver as flies buzzed round

the fresh meat.

Metal pots and pans containing bananas, onions, peanuts and

tomatoes were scattered around, while portable gas hobs were used

for cooking the food.

At first, Clotilde was shy about being interviewed, insisting

she needed time to wash her hands and clean up.

”The mother of Drogba cannot be seen like this,” she

protested.

A coach-load of supporters wearing the orange of Ivory Coast

turned up soon after and took their places at plastic picnic

tables. A gazebo provided shade from the fierce sun.

”The best moment is when you make a good meal and people are

satisfied,” said Clotilde, sitting down for a rest after helping

the handful of female kitchen workers serve the food. ”But it’s

even better when Didier scores and the team wins.”

Clotilde said she saw Ivory Coast’s opening two victories on a

screen at the modest stadium where she’s working, but added that

she hoped to watch the semifinal in the stadium in Bata if Drogba

and his teammates make it that far.

Unfortunately, Drogba himself will miss out on the home

cooking.

”The best food is what mom makes, but Didier has to eat at the

hotel, which is normal. He has to eat with the team – these are the

rules and I respect that,” she said.

Before Drogba became a star player in France, Clotilde said she

was complimented on her son’s powerful physique.

”In France, they say you have to give children lots of soup so

they will grow up strong,” she said. ”Didier was so big they

always said I must have given him lots of soup. Didier’s favorite

was always sweet puree of plantain.”

It was also no surprise to mum that Drogba turned into a

world-class footballer.

”I was a fan of Franz Beckenbauer when I was pregnant with

Didier and I wanted him to be a big footballer like that – and God

made it happen,” Clotilde said.

Even without mom’s cooking, Clotilde is confident she will see

her son finally lift the African Cup.

”The team plays very well, and it’s my wish that they win the

cup,” she said.

Ivory Coast fan Euloge Ngbesso was enjoying a big bowl of rice

and spicy chicken as Drogba’s mom helped clean up the dishes before

posing for a seemingly interminable round of photos with

supporters.

”She’s a good woman,” he said. ”She’s like a mother to the

supporters here. She’s very open and people respect her for who she

is, not just because she’s Didier Drogba’s mom.”