The World Cup in Brazil is more or less the last roll of the dice for the Golden Generation of Cote d’Ivoire and they cannot afford to bow out with the underachiever tag still hanging over them.
At the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa - a tournament they were heavily tipped to win - they were knocked out by eventual winners Nigeria. However, it was clear from the beginning that there was little to separate them from other contenders apart from the crude mix of big names, training ground pseudo-relaxation and near-arrogant bravado. One of those big names was Didier Drogba.
In truth, it would take some guts to bench the great Drogba, but if it’s for the greater good of the team, then this bitter pill must be swallowed.
The former Chelsea forward is a guaranteed tormentor for the opposition. His bullish displays and goal-scoring repertoire for the Blues earned him the nickname: ‘The Drog’. His strength is unmatched and he can be a total nightmare for any defender.
However, he is now 36 and is playing for Galatasaray in the Turkish Super Lig – which is not at the same level as La Liga or the Premier League – and it is time for him to pass on the baton to the younger version of himself: Wilfried Bony.
The in-form Swansea City forward has all it takes to usurp his captain in the Elephants’ starting XI. The 25-year-old scored 25 goals in all competitions for the Swans in 2013-14 and also picked up the ‘Player of the Season’ award.
Five goals in Swansea’s last four games ensured he ended the campaign on a very high note, signalling his readiness for World Cup action. It came as no surprise when he was named in Sabri Lamouchi’s 28-man provisional squad.
Bony’s call-up underlines his burgeoning reputation not just as a clinical striker but also a dependable targetman who can carry the team, as he has shown in the absence of the injured Michu at Swansea.
Drogba is a living legend whose presence alone strikes fear into the hearts of many defenders, but Bony is a rising star and now is the perfect time for him to shine.
Who should start as the main striker for Cote d'Ivoire?