Drogba operated : The Ivorian hopes to get better for the CAN 2008 kick-off

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Didier Drogba was finally operated upon last saturday for recurrent pains in his knee. The Ivorian international hopes to get better before the beginning the African Cup of Nations, from January 20 to February 10. He is, however, not sure if his club, Chelsea, would agree to that, considering that they had wanted to reschedule the operation for a future date.

There was finally no need for a conflict between Chelsea and Drogba with respect to the Ivorian attackers’ knee operation. “ Didier’s Knee got blocked yesterday (Friday) afternoon and the decision to operate on his blocked knee followed immediately, in the player’s medical interest.” Said the Club’s medical doctor, Bryan English, on Saturday in a communiqué. The operation went well and his re-education will follow suite.

There were echos in the British media last Friday about a disagreement between the Ivorian international and his club’s management. The latter wanted their indispensable scorer to undergo the medical operation at the end of the month to enable him play crucial matches. Avram Grant, coach for the Blues(France), said he knew that his player had « a problem » for the past two months, and that the Ivorian international forced himself to play… « He’ll play on Sunday if he feels better (…) We should, however, take Didier’s health seriously. We will see what is good for him »

« Preventing me from playing during the CAN is out of the question»

If Drogba’s operation had been rescheduled for a latter date, the re-education period which is to last between four and five weeks would have covered the month of January. This scenario would certainly have prevented him from participating in the African Cup of Nations, which begins on the 20th of January. « Everyone knew that preventing me from participating in the CAN was out of the question, from the moment I donned the Ivorian National Jersey. Do you realise what the African Cup of Nations means to an African and to me in particular? », The Ivorian said in an interview with the French daily, L’Equipe, last Saturday.

Drogba will surely miss the end of the year with Chelsea. The Champions League match against Valence, on Wednesday was quite insignificant, with the certainty that Chelsea was to remain on top of its group come what may. On the other hand, next Sunday, the Ivorian will miss a tough one against Arsenal, at the top of the Championship ratings with three points ahead of Chelsea (third place).

The best African footballer of the year could get better, in time, for the African Cup of Nations, but then again, Chelsea, already losing players like, the Ghanaian mid-fielder Michael Essien, the Nigerian John Mikel Obi and another Ivorian Salomon Kalou, could claim a fast return to the field as being too dangerous. The Portsmouth club, highly dependent on its African players , has already said that it will do its best to delay the release of its contracted players.

CAN 2008  Teams representing 47 countries are split into 12 groups of four. The best team from each group automatically qualifies to take part in the 26th edition of the African Cup of Nations football competition which takes place in Ghana.
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