Didier Drogba concerned over Ivory Coast ‘problem’ after AFCON exit scare | Football

Ivory Coast were hammered by Equatorial Guinea in their final AFCON group game (AFP via Getty)

Didier Drogba admits Ivory Coast have a ‘real problem’ as qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations knockout phase is now out of their hands.

The tournament hosts were humiliated on Monday as Equatorial Guinea ran out 4-0 winners at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe.

The defeat means Ivory Coast have finished third in Group A but the two-time AFCON winners will still secure a place in the knockout phase as one of the four best third-placed teams if Cameroon fail to beat Gambia on Tuesday.

Ivory Coast fans were irate at their players as they left the pitch following the heavy defeat to Equatorial Guinea, with broadcaster Canal+ Africa reporting that both squads were prevented from leaving the stadium after the match due to security concerns.

Drogba, who captained Ivory Coast during his playing career and remains his nation’s all-time top scorer, could not hide his concern after the defeat to Equatorial Guinea when speaking to Ivorian broadcaster NCI.

‘We will have to get back to work, not only asking the right questions, but also making the right decisions,’ Drogba said.

‘For football and only football because today a nation like Ivory Coast cannot organise such a competition and, of course, get eliminated so early on.

‘But in this manner, there is a real problem.’

Meanwhile, Ivory Coast head coach, Jean-Louis Gasset, admitted some of his players were crying in the dressing room after their defeat.

‘It’s a nightmare.’ Gasset said.

‘We had prepared well for this match and we got into this match well by going after them and setting the pace. We had possession and opportunities. But since then two matches, we want to force things, but we can’t score. On the other hand, the slightest mini-chance for our opponents turned into a goal. In football, you have to be efficient. Equatorial Guinea gave us a lesson in realism.’

‘Do I still believe we can qualify? Obviously.

‘We won one match out of three, we have people who are behind us. But when you wait for the results of others, that’s not a good sign.’

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