In a rare show of great sportsmanship, Didier Drogba was in the Super Eagles’ dressing room after they lost 2-1 to the Nigerians, to wish them the best.
Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Idah Peterside, who was once a Media Officer to the team, but now runs a church in South Africa, tweeted a picture of the Ivorian captain with former Chelsea team mate, Mikel Obi and the Super Eagles.
He uploaded the picture with the words: “Drogba was in the dressing room with the players, Drogba walked in and told the players win the cup for us.”
“I was very impressed with the Super Eagles’ performance against us (Ivory Coast). It’s proof of hard work, relentlessness and the sign of a world-class team in preparation,” he said, after the game that shattered the AFCON dream of the highly-rated Ivorian side.
“I don’t really see any team that can withstand Nigeria for the rest of the tournament. They keep improving by each game and level of the competition. That shows it’s a hardworking and resilient outfit. If they must take the trophy home they have to keep working, be creative and challenge any side like they engaged us.
“Wishing for and seeing victory is not enough. I feel this is Nigeria's time but they must deserve it by proving it more on the pitch. The fact that the team arrived with a number of home-based players means we have to give them praise because that tells us there is football even within the continent,” he said.
The former Chelsea striker also sent comforting words to his home fans, a number of whom are holding him responsible for the team’s debacle at the tournament.
“Fans ought to know that football is sometimes funny and bizarre. Sometimes you play well and you lose and others time you don’t put up a good game but you win. We did our best, it didn’t work out. We’re taking responsibility and also thanking fans and asking them to bear with the team that better days are definitely ahead.”
Nigeria will be hoping to qualify for their first finals since 2000, when they face Seydou Keita and co on Wednesday.