2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

14 June - 15 July

Drogba absent from Ivorian squad

Côte d'Ivoire will again be without striker Didier Drogba when they take on Madagascar in a 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier in Abidjan on Saturday. However, coach Vahid Halilhodzic has no shortage of talented replacements for the former African Footballer of the Year, whose ongoing knee problems have kept him out of the national team since the Africa Cup of Nations Ghana 2008 in February.

The Ivorian attack will likely led by Drogba's Chelsea team-mate Salomon Kalou and the diminutive Bakary Kone of Marseille.

Halilhodzic has made two changes to the squad which drew with Mozambique in their Group 7 match last month. Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk defender Igor Lolo won a call-up, as did Scotland-based defender Souleymane Bamba, who represented his country at the Men's Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008. The Dunfermline Athletic player is uncapped at senior international level.

Côte d'Ivoire require a draw against Madagascar to ensure they finish top of the pool and, crucially, progress to the final phase of South Africa 2010 qualifying.

Côte d'Ivoire squad Goalkeepers: Vincent de Paul Angban (ASEC Abidjan), Boubacar Barry (Lokeren), Aristide Benoit Zogbo (Shorta),

Defenders: Souleymane Bamba (Dunfermline Athletic), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart), Guy Demel (Hamburg), Emmanuel Eboue (Arsenal), Igor Lolo (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk), Kolo Toure (Arsenal), Marc Zoro (Benfica)

Midfielders: Kanga Akale (Recreativo Huelva), Kafoumba Coulibaly, Emerse Fae (both Nice), Jean-Jacques Gosso Gosso (Monaco), Kouamatien Kone (Cluj), Siaka Tiene (Valenciennes), Yaya Toure (Barcelona), Didier Zokora (Tottenham Hotspur),

Forwards: Sekou Cisse (Roda JC), Salomon Kalou (Chelsea), Bakary Kone (Marseille), Boubacar Sanogo (Werder Bremen).

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