DIDIER Drogba and the Ivory Coast team believe that Africa is on the verge of hosting an iconic Fifa World Cup and says his team will do everything they can to reach the final in South Africa next year.
"It is going to be a challenge. To make it to the final will not be easy because there are great teams like Brazil and Germany who have won the World Cup for many years. But my friends and I want to make history and change the way the world sees African football. We will do everything we can to get to the final and hopefully win it," Drogba said yesterday at a press conference in Johannesburg, a day after Ivory Coast qualified for the 2010 World Cup following a 1-1 draw with Malawi.
Drogba scored the goal that took the Elephants to their second consecutive World Cup. They join South Africa and Ghana as the three African teams that have qualified for Africa's first World Cup.
The team, featuring players such as Drogba and Chelsea teammate Salomon Kalou, Barcelona's Yaya Toure and Arsenal's Emmanuel Eboue were welcomed at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport by 2010 Fifa World Cup local organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan, Safa president Kirsten Nematandani and his deputy Mandla Mazibuko.
Drogba expressed confidence in South Africa's ability to stage a World Cup he believed would change the perception of the African continent.
"I was here in South Africa for the Confederations Cup in June and everything was perfect. The stadiums are good and the people are very friendly," Drogba said.
Nematandani encouraged the Ivory Coast team to excel at the World Cup next year.
"Today is a good day to be an African. This World Cup has been dubbed an African one. What that means is that this World Cup (trophy) has to remain in Africa and that cannot happen without your commitment," said Nematandani.
Jordaan congratulated Ivory Coast and all other teams that qualified for the 2010 World Cup at the weekend. - Sapa