Elephants given cash incentive
Didier Drogba and Gervinho (AFP)
Cape Town - The President of the Ivory Coast has offered the cash incentive of a doubled win bonus to inspire Ivory Coast to SWC progression.
The Guardian reports that while coach Sabri Lamouchi continues to resist the pleas to start Didier Drogba, the country’s president has made the tried but not always trusted offer to double players’ bonuses should the African giants beat Greece and in the progress advance to the Round of 16 for the first time.
Ivory Coast face Greece in a Group C encounter. Kick off is at 10pm. Follow the LIVE and interactive match updates here.
It has been a topsy-turvy World Cup so far after a mixed opening round was offset by a promising second round of matches which saw wins for Nigeria and Algeria as well as a brilliant performance by Ghana as they drew to Germany.
“We need to be stronger mentally,” Gervinho admitted before the decider here.
Lamouchi’s team will be the first qualifier from Africa to book a place in the second round and break Ivory Coast’s failure to qualify from a World Cup group at the third attempt should they beat Greece tonight.
This is not the first time Ivory Coast have been in such a situation.
The Elephants have entered the past five Africa Cup of Nations as favourites and have not lived up to the billing once.
There can be no excuse in 2014, which represents the best and final chance for Drogba, Kolo Touré, Boubacar Barry, Didier Zokora and possibly Yaya Touré to advance on the World Cup stage.
Hence the intervention of the president, Alassane Ouattara.
Ivory Coast’s players are on a reported €17,900 (£14, 300) bonus per man per win in Brazil. On Monday, this changed when the president of the national assembly, Guillaume Soro, informed the team that despite the loss to Colombia, the bonus will be doubled to €35,800.
This incentive will matter little to Didier Drogba and Yaya Touré but it may be life-changing to Ivory Coast-based reserve goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo.
The winners here will advance providing no Japanese heroics against already qualified Colombia. A draw will suffice for Ivory Coast unless Japan beat Colombia by a two-goal margin or more.
Didier Zokora is suspended for the final group game while the Toure’s look set to start for the Ivory Coast only six days after their 28-year-old brother, former Nice forward Oyala Ibrahim, passed away.
The pair decided to continue playing at the World Cup where they hope to secure Ivory Coast’s debut in the knockout stage. That would provide the most fitting tribute to their brother, Oyala.