2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

11 June - 11 July

2010 FIFA World Cup™

Cote d’Ivoire look to make new memories


When Cote d'Ivoire come to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ next year they will be hoping to erase a bad memory for their Bosnian Coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

In 1982 Halilhodzic was a member of the Yugoslavian team who were among the favourites to win the tournament along with Brazil. Instead of living up to the hype that surrounded them however, the team crashed out in the first round of the tournament.

And that experience has led to Halilhodzic taking a very careful approach to the in-form Cote d'Ivoire's chances at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ next year.

""We are very proud to participate in this World Cup. Cote d'Ivoire qualified for the World Cup in Germany, but couldn't go beyond the first round. This time, I hope it's going to be better. We won't talk about finishing in the finals or the semi-finals, I don't want to make those promises now. But what I can say is that we are coming to South Africa with ambition," Halilhodzic said.

Cote d'Ivoire booked their place in the finals thanks to a 1-1 draw in their match against Malawi last Saturday. On Sunday they were welcomed by a delegation from the South African Football Association and the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC).

The Elephants, containing stars such as Chelsea's Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, Barcelona's Yaya Toure and his older brother Kolo from Manchester City, Sevilla's Didier Zokora and Arsenal's Emmanuel Eboue are one of the teams which carry the hopes of Africa on their shoulders.

Chief Executive Officer of the OC, Dr Danny Jordaan told the team: "For this to truly be an African World Cup it is time African teams got to the final stages of the event, including the final. And this team, Cote d'Ivoire, is one of the teams that must carry the hopes of Africa. They have players from the best teams in the world, like Chelsea, Barcelona, Arsenal and Sevilla. This team has the quality and we ask the captain Didier Drogba to ensure this team brings us consistent performances which will bring them to the final stages. We wish you the very best and we want you to seize the moment in 2010."

The team's responsibility is not something which is lost on Halilhodzic.

"We have to think about getting to the quarterfinals first, then we can worry about the semis and finals. Winning the World Cup will make me the proudest and the happiest person. Maybe, I might consider retiring afterwards," the coach joked.

The Ivorians will also be hoping to erase a second bad footballing memory - one that was made on South African soil. In 2003 they lost 2-1 in the return leg of a crucial African Cup of Nations qualifier at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane which saw South Africa advance to the 2004 African Nations Cup at their expense.

The old stadium has since been replaced by the new FIFA World Cup stadium right next door to the old one and Cote D'Ivoire will be looking to make brand new memories if they are drawn to play there next year.

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