The Elephants need ‘something magical’

2010-06-25 15:10

“I came to Mbombela Stadium today because I want to be part of

something magical,” said US citizen Greg King.

The 27-year-old’s siblings live in Kenya and they, along with King,

bought group stage tickets to see the match between Ivory Coast and North


King said part of the reason they arrived at the game today is

because “we want to support Africa”.

The Elephants, as the Ivory Coast national soccer team is known,

need to beat the beleaguered Asian side by at least nine goals to nothing in

order to progress to the final 16 stage of the Fifa World Cup.

The nine goals objective would decrease for every goal scored by

Brazil in the other Group G match against Portugal at the Moses Mabhida Stadium

in Durban. However, if Portugal wins, Ivory Coast would be out of the

competition regardless of the number of goals scored.

They are the last African team to play in the group stages but are

unlikely to progress any further.

Fifty-year-old Ivorian Anicet Gnanzi does not want to believe that

qualification is impossible.

“Didier (Drogba) and friends can try to score nine times,” he


Gnanzi came with his friends all the way from Ivory Coast to

support Drogba, who is the captain, and his teammates.

Adam Hailu, an 11-year-old British national, is not as optimistic

as Gnanzi but is supportive of his favourite team.

Hailu lives in Malawi but “came here to support Ivory Coast because

I love them”.

At half time, Ivory Coast had scored two goals against North Korea

who had failed to score a goal. It was up to the Ivorians to prove that it could

indeed offer, in King’s words, “something magical”.

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