Côte D'Ivoire must beat Benin in tomorrow's 2012 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier to give their compatriots some good news amid a worsening humanitarian crisis, with up to a million people fleeing post-election violence, captain Didier Drogba said today.
The 33-year-old - who has often said that success on the football pitch could bring the nation's people together - added he wished they had been able to play their 'home' match in Abidjan as a symbolic gesture but it had been decided by the African Football Confederation it was too risky.
"Winning is not only important for qualification but also to give some comfort to our compatriots who are living through a difficult time at the moment," said Drogba. "We would have preferred to play as scheduled in Abidjan in order to support our public but alas it was not to be. The match will not be easy. They are opponents we know well and who cause us problems. But we have to win."
Drogba has been the leader of the 'Elephants' in their most successful spell which has seen them reach successive FIFA World Cup™ finals and the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations final.
Tomorrow's match is in Accra because it is regarded as too risky to host matches in Abidjan because of the bitter stand-off for the presidency after the disputed 28 November presidential poll.