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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Drogba 'will play for Ivory Coast again'

Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi has told Didier Drogba he still has a future in the national team, saying he "would be mad" not to use the Galatasaray striker's prodigious talents.

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Drogba, 35, has not played for his country since their surprise quarter-final exit at the African Nations Cup in February, missing out as the Elephants moved into a two-legged play-off - the last step en route to Brazil 2014 - with a win over Tanzania on Sunday.

However, the former Marseille and Chelsea forward looks likely to be back for August's friendly with Mexico after Lamouchi, 41, told RMC the two-time African Footballer of the Year merely "needed a holiday" and remains fundamental to his plans.

"I don't have a problem with him. Quite the contrary," ex-France international midfielder Lamouchi, who took the Ivory Coast job in May 2012, said. "Of course he's someone on whom I count, he knows that. I would be mad not to take advantage of the player and man he is. I knew the player, but the man is a gentleman and a great professional.

"He brings a lot to the national team, to the country and Africa in general. We'll see him again in a national team shirt, no problem. It's just that he needs to do a good pre-season. He still has a lot to offer even if it's only his experience. Didier Drogba is ready to come to the national side even if he doesn't play."

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