Johannesburg - Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi has named his list of players called up to face Gambia next weekend in the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup qualifying, without team captain Didier Drogba, who has vowed to help the Elephants qualify for the tournament, which will probably be his last international assignment.
No reasons were given for the absence of the Galatasaray new signing, however, local observers believe the former Chelsea talisman’s poor form at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations prompted the Frenchman’s decision.
Another Turkey-based player Emmanuel Eboue, also of Galatasaray, was dropped as well as Salomon Kalou.
The Russian Premier League’s onetime top scorer Seydou Doumbia of CSKA Moscow returns to the fold after a year of absence, while 24-year-old striker Gerard Gohou Bi Goua, who plays for Turkish club Kayseri Erciyesspor, gets his first call up to the outfit.
The Toure brothers and Gervinho are among the team’s veterans to feature against Group C’s bottom-placed Gambia on March 23 in the Ivorian commercial capital Abidjan. Squad:
Goalkeepers: Copa Barry (Lokeren, Belgium), Sylvain Gbohouo (Sewe Sport), Ali Badra Sangare (Ivoire Sport Academie), Abdoul Karim Cisse (Africa Sports).
Defenders : Souleman Bamba (Trazbonspor, Turkey), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart, Germany), Kolo Toure (Manchester City, England), Didier Zokora (Trazbonspor, Turkey), Ismael Traore (Brest, France), Benjamin Angoua (Valenciennes, France), Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro (Toulouse, France).
Midfielders : Max-Alain Gradel (AS St-Etienne, France), Cheik Ismael Tiote (Newcastle, England), Abdul Razak (Charlton AC, England), Yaya Toure (Manchester City, England), Losseni Karaboue (Nancy, France), Giovanni Sio (Sochaux, France), Emmanuel Kouamatien Kone (Sedan, France), Didier Ya Konan (Hanovre 96, Germany), Geoffrey Serey Die (FC Bale, Switzerland).
Forwards : Wilfried Bony (Vitesse Arhnem, Netherlands), Arouna Kone (Wigan, England), Lacina Traore (Anzhi Makhachkala, Russia), Gervinho (Arsenal, England), Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Kevin Zougoula (Sewe Sport), Gerard Gohou Bi Goua (Kayseri Erciyesspor, Turkey).