Drogba hopes sad state of Ivory Coast improves

The Ivory Coast football team has done all it can to help end

the ”sad” state of the violence-racked West African country,

captain Didier Drogba said on Thursday.

A reported 400 people are dead as sitting president Laurent

Gbagbo has refused to cede power to Alassane Ouattara, who the

United Nations recognizes as the winner of November’s election.

Drogba, the Chelsea striker, has helped quell political strife

in the country before and is regarded as somewhat of a peace


”We as the national team, we sent a letter – a message – to the

different actors there and that is the maximum we can do at the

moment. Political problems shouldn’t create this kind of damage,”

Drogba said from the Barcelona Global Sports Forum. ”Ivory Coast

has never been like this. Politics is turning the country into

something we don’t want to see.

”It’s just sad, sad. But at the same time we tried something to

help the country.”

The letter was delivered to all sides in December, but has done

little in the face of Gbagbo bunkering down.

”Now it’s time for the main actors to do something. We did our

part and they have to remember that the most important thing is to

remember the population,” Drogba said. ”What else do you want us

to do? The situation is where it is but I think it can change and

we can find a solution.”

Drogba dismissed any future in politics as he instead focuses on

building hospitals in his native country through his


”Politics is not for me. Too many problems,” he said. ”I like

my position. If I decide to help I always try to do positive things

and people will judge me from my acts and not because I’m from this

party or another.”

Drogba couldn’t say whether an African Cup of Nations qualifier

scheduled to be played in Abidjan on March 25 would go ahead inside

the capital or be moved.

Drogba did say the absence of veteran defender Kolo Toure – who

failed a doping test – will complicate things.

”I think we all know how stupid it was the mistake, and I don’t

think he did it to improve his performance,” Drogba said. ”I

spoke to him and he was down. There’s not a big difference between

what is said by Arsene Wenger and what he said.”

Arsenal manager Wenger said former Gunners player Toure blamed

his positive drug test on a diet supplement belonging to the

player’s wife.

Last year’s long-delayed elections were meant to reunify the

country which has been divided since a 2002 civil war.

Drogba hoped a victory against Benin would at least provide some

positive news.

”We know the power of football,” Drogba said. ”We all hope

the impact of this game will be big and enough for us to give

people a little joy in this hard time.”