I am sure it is no surprise to most of you that, as Didier Drogba‘s homeland, Côte d’Ivoire (like much of West Africa) is football obsessed. As the “Elephants” hit the pitch for their debut match at the Africa Nations Cup this afternoon, Abidjan ground to a halt. People of all walks of life were united once again in their passion for the home team, and their desire to see them bring home the coveted trophy.
Despite its roster of professional star players –such as Yaya Touré, Didier Drogba, and Gervinho– the “Elephants” are notorious for choking in international competitions. For whatever reason, the team just never manages to create and sustain the magic long enough to win a major international competition. The most heartbreaking loss was last year’s final Africa Nations Cup match, where the entire team left the pitch in tears.
So, all of Abidjan exhaled this evening when our boys finally scored a dramatic second goal late in the second half of the match against Togo. While the game was by no means the landslide most Ivorians were hoping for, it was a solid win and, therefore, something to celebrate –with fireworks, massive parties, vuvuzelas, and live music all over town.
All of Côte d’Ivoire will remain on pins and needles for the next several weeks, as we watch the team face their other competitors at this year’s Africa Nations Cup in South Africa. Despite our many divisions, I am pretty certain we are all unanimous in praying for a competition that ends in smiles, instead of tears. However, for now, it’s time to have fun and celebrate a job well done!